Seattle's Steps To Success
By Jameelah Johnson
It can be easy to look at the Seattle Storm and think they should be one of the top teams in the league because they are home to: the No. 1 scorer in Breanna Stewart, the No. 2 playmaker in Sue Bird, the No. 3 three-point shooter by percentage in Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis and the No. 4 shot blocker in Natasha Howard (who also is top five in field goal percentage) and free throw shooter in Jewell Loyd.
When one team hits the top five of so many categories individually, while simultaneously avoiding the top 10 of turnovers, it becomes almost an expectation for them to top the league. This Seattle team is more than their individual stats might suggest.
The Stewart/Bird pick-and-roll is almost a surefire way to get Bird space for the perimeter shot or for Bird to dribble forward for the midrange pullup.
Loving the Three Ball
The Storm are first in the league in number of three pointers made and three point attempts. When watching a game it sometimes appears as though every player on the team can knock down a three. All but three players on the roster have hit at least one three this season. They have hit 134 threes to their opponents' 89. Many of these have come in the form of catch-and-shoot plays but players like Bird, Stewart and Loyd can create their own shot off the dribble, making it more difficult for defenders to stop the stepback or pullup.
Sharing is Caring
Seattle leads the league in assists per game, averaging 20.9. As a team, the Storm have dished 335 dimes for the season. What's even more impressive is how well they hold onto the ball, relative to how much sharing they do. Seattle has an assist to turnover ratio of 1.50, the highest in the league.
Seattle has held teams to an average of 80.6 points per game. Their switch on the screen for man-to-man defense flourishes because their bigs, looking at you, Natasha Howard, keep their feet moving and arm up to contest shots. Howard averages 1.7 blocks per game with a total of 27 on the season. Fourth in the league in blocks, the Storm have 66 total, while their opponents sit at 57.
While this team relies heavily on the efficiency of Stewart (she has the highest usage percentage of the squad), the contributions of Loyd, Howard, Mosqueda-Lewis and more cannot be overlooked. Seattle would not rank top five in points, blocks, steals and assists per game as a TEAM if it were not for the trust the teammates have with each other under the direction of head coach Dan Hughes.