How Tina Charles can bolster Seattle Storm’s WNBA title hopes

Seattle Storm officially announced on Tuesday what everyone expected from the announcement of Tina Charles’ “divorce” from Phoenix Mercury three days ago: She’s heading northwest to the Pacific.

Charles has signed for the rest of the season with Storm, who are currently 11-7 and fourth in the WNBA standings.

Guard Sue Bird, part of all four Storm Championship teams, will retire later this season. Charles will now be part of the quest to send Bird out with another WNBA title – while trying to win for the first time in his career.

Charles averaged 17.3 points, 7.3 rebounds and 2.1 assists in 16 games for Mercury, with whom he signed as a free agent in February. Charles was unhappy with his role in Phoenix (8-12), which has won two games in a row since his departure.

Charles, 33, has had a Hall of Fame-worthy career with two NCAA Championships in the Yukon, but a WNBA championship is far from him. Seattle will be its fifth stop in the WNBA, along with the Connecticut Sun, New York Liberty, Washington Mystics and Phoenix.

Charles, 2012 WNBA MVP, How to sit in a storm? Does his addition greatly strengthen Seattle’s chances of winning? ESPN’s Kevin Pelton, Alexa Filippo and Machel Vopel look at Seattle’s big mid-season move.

After playing half of their 36-game regular-season schedule, and the two 2022 All-Stars already in the starting lineup, why add Storm to Charles?

The center in Seattle did not go as planned this summer because Mercedes Russell – who signed a three-year deal with Hurricanes last season – is limited to five games and is currently being treated for recurrent, unusual headache syndrome. Done

Ezzie Magbegor has emerged as a rookie star in the league, helping to make Russell’s absence feel less intense, but the Storms have problems elsewhere: in particular, they have struggled to get their reserves. Constantly struggled to get crime or really struggled. Out of anyone. Of Brenna Stewart, Jewel Lloyd and Magbegor. With Seattle’s top 19.1 net rating, Storm’s next two most consistent lineups – Brian Jane, Gentle Lavender, Lloyd, Stewart and Gabby Williams, are followed by Jane, Epiphany Prince, Lavender, Stephanie Talbot and Magbegor. 19.4 and -9.6, respectively. Despite a strong season ahead of Magbegor, Seattle ranks last in the league in rebounding percentage (46.4%) and 11th in paint (29.1).

Byrd has confirmed that 2022 is his last season in the WNBA – and Stewart hopes to get a new home in free agency next season – Storm is looking to throw away all his chips to win the WNBA title this season. Bringing Charles to increase the depth of his frontcourt, especially when Russell is sidelined, and adding a convincing offensive weapon, on paper, makes the team more dangerous to win the championship. , philipou

How can Seattle use Charles in their lineup?

It could depend on what Storm said in the process of re-appointing Charles after Mercury was selected as a free agent in Seattle in February. A source told ESPN’s Josh Weinfeis that the decision was made because of differences over how Storm would use Charles.

From a basketball standpoint, the frontcourt position behind both Charles Stewart and Magbegor would be the best from the bench, a role Gentle Lavender experienced in Russell’s absence this season. But Charles has never gone off the bench in his career and can rightly point to leading the WNBA in scoring last year to be considered unimaginable at the moment.

If Charles starts, Seattle coach Noel Quinn has an interesting decision to make. Magbegor has played very well to justify losing his early job, so could Storm start a big front court with Stewart as both Charles and Magbegor? Maybe that’s enough shooting to work on the offense, but that means Lloyd will have to defend the opposition’s top wing scorer – a role Seattle currently reserves to fill short forward Gabby Williams, as she did on defense.

Moving Stewart into the small forward could create a few more minutes in the middle when Russell returns to the lineup. Storm signed Russell to a three-year deal worth $ 160,000 per year this off-season, According to HerHoopStats.com, So when he’s healthy they’d love to find a role for him. , peloton

The report indicated that Charles was unhappy with Mercury’s role in the crime and the number of bullet attempts he made. Could Seattle’s offense improve the number that already has another MVP post player?

I’m not sure how much more offense Charles is expected to make from him than Phoenix, where he averaged 14.8 shots per game. Lloyd is now averaging 16.3 with Stewart.

Stewart is 27 and running for her second MVP, previously in 2018 when Storm won the championship. There was no other post player close to Stewart’s caliber in Phoenix in which Greener was captured in Russia, so Charles’ situation was different. Charles could have allowed Hurricane to be at least as influential on the court as he was for Mercury, but possibly at a higher price. , vople

How does the inclusion of Charles change Storm’s hopes for the 2022 championship?

It changes for the better – or worse. What Charles brings is well explained in terms of immediate and significant impact. Worse? If the chemistry is disrupted, it can be difficult to recover. Bird-Lloyd-Stewart championship teams are characterized by pride and support. The biggest setback for Seattle is just injuries, especially for Stewart, who was out of 2019 and was at the end of last year’s regular season / playoffs. If Charles is committed to being part of that reconciliation, that storm will certainly pose a greater threat. , vople

What are the biggest pros and cons of joining Charles Storm this season?

The biggest advantage is that from a talent standpoint, Charles is a great player, who gets a lot of attention from the opposing fortress, and he himself is a strong defender. It looks like the best possible situation for Seattle on paper, which needed post assistance and got it at the expense of a competitor.

The biggest deception, obviously, is that it can be hard for Charles to play with things if things don’t go his way. The advantage of Storm is that they already have three players who are USA basketball teammates and know Charles well in Bird, Lloyd and Stewart. Charles clearly didn’t believe Mercury would help him win the championship, so it means she will be with Seattle now. To that extent, her approach could be completely different, as seen in her short stay in Phoenix. , vople

What does the Storm Roster look like next season?

As I wrote when Byrd announced it was his last season, there are more questions at the moment than answers about Hurricane 2023, in which Stewart is moving to an unrestricted free agency and the team is already headquartered. The same was used on Lloyd.

If Stewart leaves and Charles enjoys his time in Seattle this year, she could go into a big offensive role as a focal point with Lloyd and Magbegor (who will be reserved for next season and only Hurricane) be able to negotiate a new contract. Considering that Charles will turn 34 in December, it would be a long-term solution if Seattle lost in the two-time final MVP, but its impact could diminish in 2023. , peloton


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