Readers believe Sue Bird and the Seattle Storm will be WNBA championship favorites when and if the 2020 season begins. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

Readers believe Sue Bird and the Seattle Storm will be WNBA championship favorites when and if the 2020 season begins. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

POLL RESULTS: Storm expected to be WNBA title favorites

Nearly half the voters predicted Seattle to win the 2020 WNBA championship.

If the WNBA season ever gets started, Everett’s adopted team is expected to go a long way.

The 2020 WNBA season was supposed to start last Friday before it was postponed indefinitely because of the coronavirus pandemic. That means the Seattle Storm, who are slated to play eight games at Everett’s Angel of the Winds Arena in August and September as the new Seattle arena continues to be built, are playing the waiting game.

But just what are the Storm waiting for? That’s the question that was posed to readers in this week’s Seattle Sidelines poll. Specifically, they were asked how good they think the Storm will be this season.

After adding up the votes from the polls posted on the blog and on Twitter, the belief is strong in the Storm. Nearly half the voters (48%) said they think Seattle will win the WNBA championship this season. Another 36% labeled the Storm as championship contenders who will fall just short. Ten percent said Seattle is merely a playoff team, while 6% said the Storm would miss the playoffs.

The confidence in this year’s Storm team is strong, and that is understandable. Seattle won the WNBA title in 2018 — something we in Everett had the opportunity to celebrate as the banner-raising ceremony took place at Angel of the Winds Arena. The Storm played 2019 without its two best players, as league MVP Breanna Stewart and living legend Sue Bird both sat out the season with injuries. Yet Seattle still made the playoffs thanks to the efforts of Natasha Howard, Jewell Loyd and company. With Stewart and Bird back this season, the Storm should be back among the top contenders.

There was a dramatic difference in the voting between the blog poll and the Twitter poll. On the blog, 67% of the voters predicted a championship, while on Twitter just 20% picked that option. I can only surmise that the discrepancy is a result of reading the full context. The readers who voted on the blog were those who slogged through the entire text of the story, meaning they were fully informed of Seattle’s situation, including its returning stars. Those voting on Twitter were probably left to their own devices, and maybe not everyone knew how well the Storm held up in Stewart’s and Bird’s absence.

Just when the Storm will get the chance to prove the voters right or wrong remains up in the air. The WNBA is still exploring possibilities and contemplating scenarios, which include starting the season at one hub site and playing games without fans. With states beginning to relax restrictions, there appears to be increasing optimism about sports eventually being able to get their seasons started, at least in some form.

When and if that moment arrives for the WNBA, the readers’ expectation is that the Storm will be on the leading edge of championship contenders.

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