On Monday, the Seattle Storm announced that they were involved in a three team trade with the Washington Mystics, and the New York Liberty. The Storm have parted with their 2017 first round pick (number 6 overall) and swapped second round picks with the Mystics (moving from 18 to 15). In return, the Storm receive New York Liberty's starting center 6' 6" Carolyn Swords. And the Liberty receive center Kia Vaughn and guard Bria Hartley from the Mystics.
Swords is a five year WNBA veteran spending her first three seasons with the Chicago Sky and the past two with the New York Liberty where she became a consistent starter. Swords has career averages of 4.2 PPG and 3.4 RPG in about 13 minutes of play. Last season, where she started every game for the Liberty, she increased her averages to 5.2 PPG and 4.6 RPG in 17.5 minutes a game. She is also a career 50% plus shooter from the floor, including 57% FG average in 2016.
In Swords, the Storm get the size and height they have desperately needed. Since 2014, Seattle has been using Crystal Langhorne as their center. At 6' 2" Langhorne is undersized at center, especially when playing against the likes of 6' 9" Brittney Griner of the Mercury or 6' 6" Sylvia Fowles of the Lynx. The Storm have consistently struggled against dominant post teams. And Seattle had the third-worst rebounding rate of any team last season.
Storm President and GM Alisha Valavanis talked about the trade:
"One of our objectives this offseason and free agency period was to add another post with length and size around the rim."
By trading their first round pick, the Storm are mortgaging some of their future for the potential to win sooner. Seattle's biggest needs this off-season are to improve their size, defense, and rebounding with a post player. As well as adding a potential heir to the point guard position for Sue Bird. Lastly, the team needs more consistent scoring from their bench. Breanna Stewart, Jewell Loyd, and Sue Bird were all up there as league leaders in minutes played last season.
What did the Storm give up by trading away their first round pick? It's hard to say at this time. While many fans in Seattle were hopeful the Storm would be able to draft Kelsey Plum out of the University of Washington, it was doubtful Plum would still be available when the Storm selected sixth. It is also very possible, the Storm got confirmation from one of the five teams ahead of them that Plum would be gone by the time Seattle would make their selection; so they decided to part with it to improve their post play.
The WNBA Draft can be a crapshoot every year. But there will be some potentially great players available where the Storm would have picked. Players like Baylor's point guard Alexis Jones and forward Nina Davis, as well as Maryland's guard Shatori Walker-Kimbrough and center Brionna Jones. It'll certainly be interesting to see if the Storm regret parting with their draft pick.
What do you think Storm fans? Will the Storm take the next step towards their 3rd WNBA Championship with the addition of Carolyn Swords? Or will they regret trading away their first round draft pick? Let us know!