The Seattle Storm’s Shavonte Zellous yells after scoring and getting a foul call against the Phoenix Mercury during the season opener on Saturday, May 25, 2019 in Everett, Wash. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)

The Seattle Storm’s Shavonte Zellous yells after scoring and getting a foul call against the Phoenix Mercury during the season opener on Saturday, May 25, 2019 in Everett, Wash. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)

POLL RESULTS: Readers predicting playoffs for the Storm

Voters still like Seattle’s postseason chances, despite the absence of Breanna Stewart and Sue Bird.

It seems the voters believe the Seattle Storm are still a playoff team.

This week’s Seattle Sidelines poll asked readers to weigh in on the defending WNBA champions. Seattle, which is playing five of its home games this season at Everett’s Angel of the Winds Arena, may be the reigning champ, but the Storm aren’t the same team they were last year because of the season-ending Achilles injury suffered by league MVP Breanna Stewart, as well as the indefinite absence of Sue Bird because of arthroscopic knee surgery.

So the following question was posed to the readers: How will the Storm fare this season? Here’s how you voted:

Add the two together and a solid majority of the voters — 64 percent — said they believe Seattle will make the playoffs. Twenty percent of the voters said they think the Storm will miss the playoffs, while 16 percent predicted a repeat championship.

This seems like a fair result. It’s going to be really tough for the Storm to repeat. Repeating is difficult for any team in any professional sport, but it’s a huge task for a team that may be without its two best players the entire season. However, Seattle still has quality players in the likes of Jewell Loyd and Natasha Howard, and the fact that eight of the league’s 12 teams make the postseason means the Storm don’t have to be better than many teams to reach the playoffs.

The other notable thing to me about this poll was the turnout. I’m really trying to gauge the local interest level in the Storm, considering Everett is serving as one of the team’s temporary homes this season, and possibly next season as well, while the new Seattle arena is being built. The season opener at Angel of the Winds Arena last Saturday was hopping before a sold-out crowd of 8,500.

But was that a true indication of the local interest in the Storm? Or was it an anomaly based on the facts that it was the season opener, included a pregame championship ring ceremony, and was at a reasonable time on a weekend? Given that this poll received so little action — especially the mere 13 votes in the blog poll — it may suggest the groundswell isn’t as large as the opener may have led us to believe.

Seattle’s next game in Everett is Tuesday night against Minnesota. That game should give us a more accurate idea of how jazzed Everett actually is about the Storm being in town.

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