Storm wins No. 1 pick in April’s WNBA draft
The Storm, which finished 12-22 this season, won the WNBA Draft lottery on Thursday and will have the No. 1 pick in next year’s draft. The Storm has had the No. 1 overall choice twice, selecting Lauren Jackson and Sue Bird.
Seattle Times staff reporter
The Storm’s outlook has gone from bleak to bright.
The Storm won the WNBA’s draft lottery Thursday. Seattle will have the No. 1 overall pick in the April 2015 draft.
Tulsa, which tied Seattle for the worst record at 12-22, will select second. Connecticut (13-21) has the third and fourth picks, receiving New York’s first-rounder via trade last year.
“We came off a season that we’re not used to,” coach Brian Agler said after the Storm failed to reach the playoffs for the first time since 2003. “When you come here (New Jersey, for the draft lottery) and do this and get the best thing that can happen to you four or five days after the season, it’s a shot of excitement. I’m sure when I turn my phone on, Twitter is going to be blowing up with Storm Crazies.”
Agler, also the team’s general manager, was correct about the optimism spreading through Storm fans on social-media sites. But there was also skepticism.
Only one draft pick from Agler’s tenure remains on the Storm roster, forward Shekinna Stricklen, who was selected with the No. 2 pick in 2012. Guards Tanisha Wright (2005) and Sue Bird (2002) are Seattle’s only other original draft selections.
Agler typically trades his picks, as he did last season to acquire seven-year veteran Crystal Langhorne. On Thursday, he acknowledged the team needs to get younger but also didn’t dismiss the idea of trading the pick as a way to reach that goal.
“We have to be open-minded,” Agler said. “But we do know we need young, athletic, skilled talent coming in. That’s going to be the focus no matter what direction we go in terms of the draft or decisions we make.”
Alisha Valavanis, the Storm’s new chief operating officer, traveled with Agler to New Jersey for the lottery. When they return to Seattle, Agler said the first step is mapping out a three-year plan for the Storm.
Actual scouting will begin at the FIBA World Championship in Turkey from Sept. 27-Oct. 5. The college basketball season tips off in November.
Forwards Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis (Connecticut) and Aleighsa Welch (South Carolina) and point guards Brittany Boyd (California) and Rachel Banham (Minnesota) could be good fits in Agler’s system. But there currently isn’t a clear front-runner for the No. 1 overall pick as there has been in the past seven WNBA drafts.
“We’ve got a lot of work to do,” Agler of the 2015 class not having a no-brainer like Brittney Griner (2013), Maya Moore (2011) or Candace Parker (2008).
Seattle won the inaugural WNBA lottery in 2002 and selected Sue Bird with the No. 1 pick. She teamed with Lauren Jackson, the No. 1 overall pick in 2001, to lead the Storm to its first playoff appearance.
“We’re a team that hasn’t been here very much,” Agler said. “There’s a lot of good about that, but when you get here, you like to have good things play out for you and they did for us today. It’s an exciting time.”
|Seattle’s No. 1 picks|
|If the Storm hangs on to the No. 1 pick in the 2015 WNBA draft, it will be the eighth time a Seattle team has had the first overall choice.|
|Mariners||1979||OF Al Chambers|
|1981||RHP Mike Moore|
|1987||OF Ken Griffey Jr.|
|1993||SS Alex Rodriguez|
|Storm||2001||C Lauren Jackson|
|2002||G Sue Bird|
|Sounders||2009||F Steve Zakuani|