Analysis: After a disappointing 5-5 start, here’s what we’ve learned about the storm so far

Noelle Quinn doesn’t particularly like comparisons, but coach Storm points to Chicago Sky for the perspective of Seattle’s uninspiring 5-5 start.

“The thing I always think of when going through adversity is that Chicago was the blueprint,” she said. “They won the championship and they were 15-15.”

Few outside of the most ardent Sky fans would have thought they would recover from a horrific 3-7 start and win their first WNBA title last year.

Quinn, who was forced to mix four different lineups at the start, will be available to everyone only for the second time at 7 p.m. Tuesday when he faces the Seattle Atlanta Dream (7-4) at Climate Pledge Arena.

“This group did not have [many games] She said. “We are learning. … I am not trying to look at our record and panic by any means.

“But it’s encouraging to know that we don’t want to be great in June. We want to be great in July, August and September and peak in time.”

After 10 matches, here’s a look at five things we learned about Storm.

1. Stewie is organizing a potentially historic season

Breanna Stewart is the only WNBA player to rank in the top 15 in the league per game (20.4 – 1).Street), steals per game (2.9 – 1Street), blocks per game (1.0 – equivalent to 11The tenth) and rebounds in the match (7.0 – 14 .)The tenth).

Stewart is virtually lock-in for her fourth All-Star pick and will likely start the All-Star Game for the third time.

It’s certainly too early to seriously consider the post-season awards, but 2018 WNBA MVP Award winner Stewart has emerged as the best MVP and is positioning herself to contend for her first WNBA Defensive MVP Award.

“What I wanted to do was make an impact on both sides,” Stewart said. “Knowing our defensive schemes, evolving into a vet and understanding where you want to be on the field both offensively and defensively.

“Trying to disrupt the other team’s attack is what I’m trying to do.”

Stewart could become the first player to win both MVP and Defensive MVP awards in the league since former Storm star Lauren Jackson in 2007. Only four players have received both awards in the same season, including Sheryl Swopes (2000 and 2002), Leslie Leslie (2004 )) and Yolanda Griffith (1999).

2. Azi Ascend

Now in its third year, Ezi Magbegor gives Natasha Howard feedback 2018 when the former Storm star had a special year that catapulted her to stardom.

The 6-foot-4 center leads the league with 2.9 cubes per game and is 10The tenth The league steals at 1.6. Magbegor also doesn’t slack in the scoring and rebound sections while averaging 12.0 and 7.0, respectively.

“She’s really starting to understand herself more and understand the game a little bit more at that level,” goalkeeper Sue Bird said. “Ezi has always known how to do things, and now she’s starting to see when to do things.

“It’s funny because I’m still seeing a lot of what she can do and the areas in which she can grow, which is a great sign. The kid is still 22. … Now she’s going like a mature WNBA player who knows exactly what she’s doing there.”

Magbegor, who missed three games while on league health and safety protocols, started seven games in place of Mercedes Russell, who missed the first eight games while recovering from an undisclosed basketball injury.

Quinn wasn’t sure if Magbegor would return to the bench once Russell was ready to start.

“It shows that she is very capable in this position,” Quinn said. “What can Izzy do with whatever unit you are on the ground with. I don’t want to rein in that. I think she has done a great job this year.”

3. Fewer triples, more free throws may help

Joel Lloyd’s mind “three is more than two” to explain why he’s leading the WNBA by storm with 27.7 three-point attempts per game.

At its current pace, Seattle finished the season with a league record of 997 shots behind the arc.

A WNBA team doesn’t rely on the triple ball like Storm, who gets 35.5% of his goals from the periphery.

Conversely, Seattle ranks last in the league in free throw attempts per game (14.2) and percentage of points off the streak (14.5%).

“It starts with setting the tone in that sense just because it’s something I can do,” said Loyd, who leads Seattle with 65 three-point attempts. “But when we get great three-point shots, we won’t turn them down. We’re all shooters on this team. Our ability to make shots when we need to has been part of our DNA for a long time. It’s how the game changes too.

“But we definitely want to get to the free-throw line.”

The Storm has not attempted fewer than 24 three-pointers in any game this season. However, in the past three games, Seattle has made 13, 8 and 7 free throws attempts.

4. Reserves need a leader

We all know about the Big Three and how important they are to Seattle’s success.

But when Storm actually started a few years ago and won the WNBA titles in 2018 and 2020, they could count on meaningful and fairly consistent contributions from a handful of backup players.

For the past two years, bench production has been missing in Seattle.

So far, Seattle hasn’t been able to decide the roles because the 11-player landing roster has only played one game together. But Quinn made it clear that she expects Epifani Prince and Stephanie Talbot, who average 5.6 points, to lead the reserves.

5. The climate pledge is nice, but…

The Storm loves the locker room amenities of the $1.15 billion Climate Pledge Arena as well as the average team attendance of 10,312, which is on track to set a team record and lead the WNBA with more than 3,000.

However, the spacious new venue, which measures 800,000 square feet and is nearly twice the size of its predecessor KeyArena, is not without its downsides.

“There’s a deep realization in this building,” Stewart said Friday night after a 68-51 loss to the Dallas Wings when Storm fired 31.7% from the field and 17.2% from three throws. “That’s no excuse, but we’re used to it.

“There is something a little unconventional.”

Loyd added, “There is something in it, but whatever it is, we have to get used to it.”

Storm’s 5-3 domestic record has as much to do with their checkered roster and player availability as it does anything else.

At home, Seattle shoots 41.4% from the field, 32.5% on three-pointers and 80% on the line. Down the road, these percentages are 36.7, 35.5, and 77.8, which isn’t much different.

However, perception – pun intended – is everything and Storm believes the new building partially explains why the crime didn’t work.

“We try to feel comfortable shooting in a new arena,” Stewart said. “it’s not [KeyArena]. It’s not the same deep realization and hopefully it’s coming sooner rather than later because you can feel the fans are waiting for a reason to explode, and we need to give it to them.”