How quickly we all forget.
The Seattle Storm dominated their way to the WNBA championship last week, sweeping the Las Vegas Aces in the championship series following a coronavirus-bubbled season in which they tied for the best record in the league. This was just the latest triumph for what has been one of the league’s premier franchises the past 21 years, as the Storm have now won four WNBA championships.
That got me thinking. Is this year’s team the best in Seattle Storm history? I decided to go to the masses to find out what you all think, as this week’s Seattle Sidelines poll asked readers which Storm team they believed was the greatest in franchise history.
— Nick Patterson (@NickHPatterson) October 12, 2020
Adding together the votes cast in the Twitter poll and the votes cast on the blog and there was a clear winner. The 2020 team dominated the voting the same way it dominated the playoffs, earning 64% of the vote. The 2010 team was a distant second at 31%, while 5% opted for the “other” option.
There is absolutely nothing wrong with choosing the 2020 team as the franchise’s best. This team went 18-4 during the regular season, then was a perfect 6-0 during the postseason. The team includes Breanna Stewart, a former league MVP who finished second in MVP voting this season, along with living legend Sue Bird and proficient scorer Jewell Loyd. Add in the fact that this team is a two-time champion, as the 2018 titlists were essentially the same squad, and it’s a worthy selection as the greatest team in franchise history.
But was it two-to-one better than 2010?
I have to think that recency bias came into play in the voting on this one. The 2020 team was great, but the 2010 team finished with a slightly better winning percentage (.824 to .818), and that team went 7-0 in the playoffs while overcoming three different opponents, while this year’s team only had to dispatch two opponents. While Stewart was a do-everything MVP candidate this season, Lauren Jackson was the do-everything MVP winner in 2010. Bird just happened to be a part of that 2010 team as well — at a time when she was more in her physical prime. And Swin Cash as the team’s No. 3 player has to be at least as good as Loyd as No. 3.
Further reinforcing the possibility of recency bias was the contrast in voting on Twitter and on the blog. The Twitter poll just listed the teams without any details, and the breakdown was 70% for 2020 and 21% for 2010. But those who voted on the blog received all the facts about the two teams, and the voting there was almost dead even, with 52% going with 2020 while 48% picked 2010.
Again, I don’t think picking the 2020 team as the greatest in Storm history is the wrong choice. That team is special, and it wouldn’t be a surprise if Seattle wins another championship or two with these players as the core. Just don’t forget about that 2010 team. It was pretty special, too.