Even on an off day for the Storm, lots of great coverage from all sorts of sources.
Jerry Brewer of the Seattle Times makes the argument in his column that casual Seattle fans need to start paying attention to what the Storm is doing this season.
By any measure, they’re an elite team. They win by the most points (9.47 point differential) and outrebound opponents by the widest margin. They have the No. 2 field-goal percentage defense. They have the game’s best player, Lauren Jackson. They have the best point guard, Sue Bird. They have another relentless perennial All-Star, Swin Cash. They probably have the best starting five, and with the additions of Svetlana Abrosimova, Jana Vesela and Le’Coe Willingham, their bench has been among the most effective.
The team is eminently likable, on and off the court. And with the Mariners and Sounders FC bumbling, the Storm is your best hope — your only hope — for pro sports excellence this season.
At Fanhouse.com, WNBA correspondent Michelle Smith checks in on Abrosimova’s happy return to the WNBA with the Storm.
“I only have so many years left in my career. I had unfinished business,” Abrosimova said. “I want to win a championship. I want to be part of something special. All the years I played in the league, I hadn’t done that. I never won a title or a conference title. That was the No. 1 reason I wanted to come back.”
Abrosimova, who turned 30 earlier this month, is playing a key role for the surging Storm this season. She is coming off the bench to provide a spark on both ends of the floor. She’s also adding a dose of experience, one of the factors that is putting Seattle at the top of the league by a wide margin.
Q McCall is all about Vesela. First, at SB Nation Seattle, he writes about her quiet emergence as a capable role player for the Storm.
Since having a week-long break before the Storm’s 83-72 road win over the Tulsa Shock on June 27, Vesela’s minutes have increased to the 13 minutes per game, up from 7.6 minutes prior to that point. During that time, perhaps her shooting percentages over the last five games best illustrate her increased comfort: she has quietly shot 12-of-14 from the field in her increased minutes, suggesting that we haven’t seen the best of her yet.
“When you play more and more it’s like you can do more and more,” said Vesela after that Phoenix game back in June, perhaps forecasting her own trajectory in matter-of-fact terms.
And then on SwishAppeal.com Q ranks Vesela among the league’s best rookies.
3. Jana Vesela: I imagine this comes as a bit of a surprise to some with Vesela not getting many minutes on the Storm. But I would also recommend considering the numbers. Vesela is a very, very efficient reserve. A large part of that value added rating is her 21.6% assist rate, which is well above average for a player at her position. The one glaring flaw in her performance thus far is her 24.17% turnover percentage, which will probably have to change in order for her to earn more minutes. While value added does account for defense moreso than other numbers, Vesela’s versatility on both ends of the floor is noteworthy and part of what makes vaulting her to #3 more reasonable that it might first seem. Regardless, her numbers suggest that she is a player that would be making a lot more noise with more minutes on another team.
Staying busy, Q also checks in on the MVP race with some heresy:
2. Lauren Jackson, Seattle Storm
And hopefully it’s obvious why Jackson isn’t number one – she has the considerable advantage of playing next to point guard Sue Bird as well as forwards Swin Cash and Camille Little, both of whom have had outstanding seasons. So those MVP and PVC numbers are just going to be lower for Jackson than they are the other candidates.
At WNBA.com, Frank Della Femina reassures us that Jackson is the leader in the MVP clubhouse:
If you witnessed Jackson’s clutch free-throws against the Mercury Wednesday afternoon or her big three-point shot Saturday against the Lynx, it’s hard to put her anywhere but No. 1. Plus, you have to factor in her recent Player of the Week honor. Last time Jackson was named Player of the Week five times in a season was 2007. The end result? MVP.