The Seattle Storm may have finally snagged their heir-apparent to Sue Bird with the selection of Jordin Canada with the 5th overall pick during Thursday’s WNBA Draft in New York. Canada, the highly touted point guard out of UCLA, became the first PAC12 women’s basketball player to score over 1,800 points and dish out over 700 assists in her career. The only other PAC12 player to accomplish that feat was the Sonics own Gary Payton, so it’s only fitting that Canada would also end up in Seattle where Payton played the majority of his career.
Despite her smaller size (5’ 6”), Canada has an exceptional ability to get to the basket. She’s very creative with the dribble and uses that to get past her defenders frequently. Canada averaged 17 points and 7 assists per game in her senior season. She was rated as the top true point guard prospect of the WNBA Draft (Kelsey Mitchell being more of a combo guard). Canada has shown strong consistency as both a scorer and distributor as she averaged over 16 points and 6 assists over her final three years of college.
Canada is not just a talented point guard on the offensive side of the ball. She has also been an incredible defensive player at UCLA. Jordin led the PAC12 in steals her senior season with 114 total steals, 3.3 steals per game. She averaged at least 2.0 steals per game all four years of college. Canada’s defense intensity was recognized as she won Defensive Player of the Year in the PAC12 Conference during both her Junior and Senior seasons (2016-17, 2017-2018).
This highlight video shows off Jordin’s ability to create for herself and her teammates, but also her defensive ability.
Canada helped lead UCLA to three straight Sweet 16 appearances in the women’s NCAA March Madness tournament, including the Elite 8 this season where Canada willed her team to victory over the #2 seeded Texas Longhorns with 22 points, five rebounds, and eight assists.
The Storm’s President and GM was quite impressed with Canada. “Jordin is a dynamic playmaker that will fit well in Coach Dan Hughes’ system,” said Alisha Valavanis. “In addition to her offensive skill set, her defensive tenacity is invaluable. This is an incredible opportunity for a rookie point guard to learn from Sue Bird. We are excited to welcome Jordin to Seattle!”
Storm Coach Dan Hughes was also impressed. “Jordin has a special skill with the basketball and at the same time defensively, is such an impact player,” said Hughes. “She gives us a spark on both ends of the floor with a high basketball IQ.”
This is the 2nd year in a row the Storm have used their first draft pick in hopes of finding their future starting point guard (selecting Alexis Peterson last year). Sue Bird, Seattle Storm legend, is the greatest point guard in the history of the WNBA. And while Sue is still playing at an All-Star level, she is heading into her 16th WNBA season and will turn 38 in October. Seattle must eventually find their successor and the hope is that Canada will be the one.
Seattle looks to build their franchise back up to a championship level after selecting back-to-back #1 overall picks Jewell Loyd and Breanna Stewart in the 2015 and 2016 WNBA Drafts. As Loyd and Stewart enter the prime of their careers, the Storm will look to add complimentary pieces to build a championship team around. Canada could very well be that next piece as she may be able to provide an instant spark off the bench backing up Sue Bird in her rookie season and eventually take the reigns as the Storm’s starting point guard when Bird decides to call it a career.
Other Draft News
The Storm did not have a 2nd round draft pick this season as part of the Natasha Howard trade they made with this Minnesota Lynx earlier this off-season. The hope is that Howard will play a key role on this team this season and is another younger player (entering her 5th season) that could become another core piece to build around with Stewart, Loyd, and potentially Canada.
With their 3rd round pick, the Storm selected 6’ 1” Forward Teana Muldrow out of West Virginia. This could be considered a steal in this draft as Muldrow was projected by ESPN to be the 17th overall pick (early 2nd round) in the draft and the Storm were able to get her with the 29th overall pick.
Muldrow averaged a career best 18.9 PPG and 8.6 rebounds per game in her senior season at West Virginia.
Coach Dan Hughes was impressed by her rebounding ability. Something the Storm have really struggled with the past few seasons.
“Teana has had an outstanding career at West Virginia,” said Hughes. “Her rebounding ability, versatility, offensive scoring and her defensive development were very evident.”