A decade ago former Storm coach Lin Dunn made a statement that suddenly has more hold than the curse of the Bambino. “I hope Seattle never picks No. 1, again,” she quipped as some bristled at the Storm getting back-to-back top overall selections to nab superstars Lauren Jackson (2001) and Sue Bird (2002).
Well, it hasn’t. In fact, the Storm hasn’t even been part of the lottery since and 2012 is no different as the league held its private session to determine who would select first in April. Tulsa had the best chances, finishing with a WNBA-worst 3-31 record in 2011, but why should the Shock win anything? Los Angeles, which had the worst probability, won the lottery and will be the top overall pick followed by Chicago, Minnesota and, you guessed it, Tulsa.
Due to trades and winning (21-13), the Storm won’t select in the opening round of what is being regarded a weak draft compared to last spring. Seattle has two picks in the second round (22nd and 23rd), trading the others in a three-team deal that landed veteran PG Katie Smith in Seattle.
Now that the season is complete, some are grumbling at that. Especially since Storm coach Brian Agler, who’s also director of player personnel, included a quality, young PG in Jasmine Thomas (Washington) and PG Erin Phillips, who turned out to have a good season for Indiana, in the trade.
Bench production was a problem all season as Agler couldn’t find replacements for 2010 treasurers Svetlana Abrosimova and Jana Veslea. And because it’s an Olympic year, Agler will still have trouble keeping up with the depth on just Minnesota’s championship squad due to both Abrosimova (Russia) and Vesela (Czech Republic) having national team obligations. Oh, and Jackson, a three-time MVP, won’t be back until after the London Games so she can train with her Australian national team.
What does that spell? Problems. Agler won’t be able to reload in the draft and doesn’t have anything he wants to part with via trade to get the Storm past the opening round of the postseason. If you’ve been following his Twitter account (@brian_agler), he’s been all over Europe the past few weeks no doubt recruiting and checking in on players like Jackson, who joined her Spanish team.
“No S%÷t! It never gets easier,” Agler tweeted to a follower on Thursday in regard to three Western Conference opponents being awarded the top three picks to improve. “Especially w no lottery pics for years. We have to do it in other ways!”
Seattle fans have to hope Agler is still lucky in finding international talent and maybe the second-round of the draft will unearth a quality player other teams overlooked. Otherwise that curse Dunn set could break in the most unfortunate way.
Seattle could stink in 2012 and land in the lottery for 2013.
But wait. Won’t Skylar Diggins (Notre Dame) and Brittney Griner (Baylor) be available then? Sweet. Like Jackson and Bird, they’re worth any suffering.