The Seattle Storm’s Jewell Loyd leans out for a shot against the Minnesota Lynx last June at the Angel of the Winds Arena. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)

The Seattle Storm’s Jewell Loyd leans out for a shot against the Minnesota Lynx last June at the Angel of the Winds Arena. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)

POLL: How good should the Seattle Storm be this season?

Everett’s adopted WNBA team was supposed to open its season last Friday.

To vote in this week’s Seattle Sidelines poll, visit the Seattle Sidelines Blog on The Herald’s website, or follow Nick Patterson on Twitter at @NickHPatterson.

Just how good should Everett’s adopted team be this season?

The WNBA’s Seattle Storm are a part of the Snohomish County family now. The Storm played five regular season games at Everett’s Angel of the Winds Arena last season, and Seattle is scheduled for another eight regular season contests in Everett this season as construction on the new Seattle arena continues.

The Storm were supposed to begin the 2020 season last Friday, when they were scheduled to host the Dallas Wings at Seattle’s Alaska Airlines Arena. However, the WNBA season has been postponed while the world works to contain the coronavirus outbreak.

Which means what could be a special season for the Storm is on hold for now.

There is no limit on how good Seattle could be this season. The Storm were the best team in the WNBA in 2018, finishing with the league’s best record during the regular season at 26-8, then sweeping the Washington Mystics in the WNBA finals. All-time great Sue Bird was still playing point guard at an elite level, and do-everything forward Breanna Stewart was the league’s Most Valuable Player.

An attempt at a repeat championship, however, was derailed before the 2019 season began. Stewart suffered an Achilles injury that wiped out her season, and Bird underwent arthroscopic knee surgery and never made it back to the court.

Without its two best players, Seattle was expected to sink like a stone. However, the Storm did an admirable job of hanging in. Power forward Natasha Howard, the WNBA’s Most Improved Player in 2018, took another gigantic leap forward in Bird’s and Stewart’s absence, averaging 18.1 points and 8.2 rebounds as she was named the WNBA Defensive Player of the Year and first-team All-WNBA. Shooting guard Jewell Loyd (12.3 points per game) continued to play at an All-Star level, despite dealing with injuries. The Storm finished 18-16 to tie for third in the Western Conference, advancing to the second round of the playoffs.

This is what Seattle accomplished without its two best players. Just how good could the Storm be with those two back?

Indeed, Seattle’s roster returned pretty much intact. The top seven scorers from last season are all back, with the most significant departure being reserve Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis, who was traded to the Connecticut Sun. Not only have Howard, Loyd and glue player Alysha Clark proved they can carry the team if needed, Jordin Canada showed she’s a starting-caliber point guard. Canada’s emergence gives Seattle not only a dynamite sixth player, she allows the Storm to provide the 39-year-old Bird with some load management.

So, making the assumption the WNBA season starts at some point, just how good do you think the Storm will be this season? Could Angel of the Winds Arena, which appeared set to host playoff games, see the crowning of a champion? Vote here:


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