By Aaron Lommers Herald Writer
The Seattle Storm have been very busy this past offseason as they try to shape their roster in an attempt to climb back to the top of the WNBA.
The 2010 WNBA champs have signed former No. 1 overall draft picks Ann Wauters and Tina Thompson to contracts via free agency. They have also re-signed guards Sue Bird, Katie Smith and Tanisha Wright to keep stability in the backcourt.
However, the Storm begin the 2012 season without forward/center Lauren Jackson, who has obligations to her Australian national team. And the team traded away Swin Cash and Le’coe Willingham to Chicago, assuring the team will have a new look this year.
Today, the Storm will see the return on the trade for Cash and Willingham when they make the No. 2 overall selection in the WNBA draft. It is the Storm’s highest draft pick since they selected Jackson (2001) and Bird (2002) with the No. 1 overall selections in the draft.
The draft begins today at 11 a.m. PDT at ESPN studios in Bristol, Conn, and the question that many Storm fans have had for some time is, what direction the Storm will take with their pick?
“I think every team looks at their roster and says I wish we could be a little bit better here or a little bit better there,” Storm head coach and general manager Brian Agler said. “But I don’t know if we have one glaring need.”
Agler did give a few hints as to which direction the Storm would go in the draft, saying the team would like to shore up its perimeter shooting.
“By trading a starter like Swin, who is sort of a big perimeter three player, we don’t have a player like that on our roster,” Agler said. “So we might look at shoring up our game that way.”
One player who isn’t expected to be on the board when the Storm make their first-round selection is Stanford’s Nnemkadi Ogwumike. Most experts believe the 6-2 forward will be selected by the Los Angeles Sparks, who have the top pick.
“I think what separates Nnemkadi is that there are probably less question marks with Nnemkadi,” Agler said.
Agler added that Ogwumike is a true power forward and won’t have to adjust to a new position in the WNBA.
Since it is unlikely that Ogwumike will be available, the question remains — who will the Storm pick at No. 2?
With Jackson returning to the team after the Olympics, Camille Little still in the fold and the addition of Wauters and Thompson, the Storm appear to be strong in the post.
“We feel like the post situation right now is pretty solid,” Agler said.
Point guard doesn’t appear to be a need for the Storm, as they still have Bird, widely regarded as the best point guard in the world in the women’s game. Agler said that the 30-year-old Olympian still has a lot of games left in her.
“We are really spoiled,” Agler said. “Every point guard we go out and evaluate we have to compare to Sue Bird and that is really unfair to that player.
“She is going to play a while. If we sign a point guard or draft a point guard we are not doing that to replace Sue Bird.”
The Storm are also strong at the off-guard position with Wright as the starter and Smith coming off the bench. Wright has also been known to move over to the point guard spot when Bird is out of the game.
With the departure of Cash, it seems likely that the Storm will look for a shooting guard or small forward that can score and shoot from the perimeter.
“We think perimeter shooting is pretty important and we think that is a position that we can get better at,” Agler said.
Aaron Lommers covers the Seattle Storm for The Herald. Follow him on twitter @aaronlommers and contact him at email@example.com.