How Tina Charles could boost Seattle Storm’s WNBA title hopes – or disrupt team chemistry – ESPN

The Seattle Storm Officially announced Tuesday what everyone has been expecting since Tina Charles Center’s “divorce” from Phoenix Mercury It was announced three days ago: It’s headed to the Pacific Northwest.

Charles signed a contract 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 after this season. Charles will now be part of the quest to send Bird out with another WNBA title – while also trying to win the first title of her career.

Charles averaged 17.3 points, 7.3 rebounds and 2.1 assists in 16 games play for Mercury, who she signed as a free agent in February. Charles was reportedly unhappy with her role at Phoenix (8-12), who has won two games in a row since leaving.

Charles, 33, had a Hall of Fame-worthy career back in two NCAA tournaments at UConn, but the WNBA title has eluded her. Seattle will be its fifth stop in the WNBA, after time with Connecticut SunAnd the New York LibertyAnd the Sophia Washington And Phoenix.

How will Charles, the 2012 WNBA Player of the Year, fit into the storm? Does her addition significantly boost Seattle’s championship hopes? ESPN’s Kevin Bilton, Alexa Filippo and Michelle Voebel look forward to Seattle’s big move mid-season.

Having played half of its 36-game regular season schedule, and with two 2022 All-Stars already in the starting line-up, why would Storm want to add Charles?

Things didn’t go as planned in Seattle this summer as center mercedes contact – who signed a three-year contract with Storm off last season – has been restricted to five games and is currently being treated for recurrent atypical headache syndrome.

Azi Magbegor He has emerged as a rising star in the league, which has helped Russell’s absence feel less severe, but the Storm has problems elsewhere: in particular, they have struggled so hard to get their reserves, or indeed to get a lot of constant insults from anyone outside Brianna StewartAnd the Joel Lloyd and Magbegor. While the Seattle starters have a net rating of 19.1, the next most popular lineup in Storm is – Brian JanuaryAnd the Gentle LavenderLloyd, Stewart and Gabe Williamsfollowed by January, Prince Epiphanylavender Stephanie Talbot and Magbegor – coming in at -19.4 and -9.6 respectively. Even with Magbegor’s strong season, Seattle is tied for last place in the league with a rebound rate (46.4%) and 11th in points (29.1).

With Bird officially declaring 2022 as her final WNBA season — and the looming prospect of Stewart finding a new home at free agency next season — Storm wants to put all her chips into winning the WNBA title this season. Bringing Charles to bolster the depth of their front zone, especially when Russell is sidelined, and adding a sure attack weapon makes them, on paper, a much more dangerous team capable of winning the championship. – philippo

How would Seattle use Charles in their lineup?

It may depend on what Storm Charles tells her to re-enlist after choosing Mercury over Seattle as her free agent in February. A source told ESPN’s Josh Winfuss that the decision stemmed from a disagreement over how Storm would use Charles.

From a basketball standpoint, Charles will be optimally off the bench in both the forward positions behind Stewart and Magbigor, a role that veteran Gentle Lavender has played this season in Russell’s absence. But Charles hasn’t been off the bench in her career and can justifiably point to leading the WNBA in scoring last year only to consider him out of the question at this point.

If Charles has to start, Seattle coach Noel Quinn has an interesting decision to make. Magbegor played too well to justify losing her primary job, could Storm start a giant front yard with Stewart in a tiny striker alongside both Charles and Magbegor? There will likely be enough shots to make it work on attack, but that means Loyd must defend the opponent’s wing scorer – a role that Seattle’s current junior starter Gabby Williams has earned to fill, as they did in defense.

Stewart’s small forward move can also create more minutes in the center for Russell when you return to the lineup. The Storm committed Russell to a three-year deal worth $160,000 per year, According to HerHoopStats.com, so they’ll want to find a role for her when she’s healthy. – Pelton

Reports indicate that Charles was unhappy with her role in Mercury’s crime and the number of attempts to shoot her. Could those numbers improve in a Seattle attack that already has another top player?

I’m not sure how much Charles expected the offense to go through more than he did in Phoenix, where she scored 14.8 shots per game. Loyd is averaging that number now, Stewart at 16.3.

Stewart is 27 and is in contention for her second MVP award, having previously won in 2018 when Storm won the championship. There was no other player close to Stewart’s caliber in Phoenix with Grenier being held in Russia, so Charles’ situation there was different. Charles might see the Storm allowing her to at least be as influential in court as it was with Mercury, but with a much greater return. – Voepel

How does the addition of Charles change the hopes of the 2022 Storm Championship?

It changes it for the better – or for the worse. The best of what Charles brings is best illustrated in terms of immediate and significant impact. the worst? If the chemistry breaks, it can be difficult to restore. The defining characteristic of the Bird-Loyd-Stewart teams is that they shared glory and were very supportive of each other. The biggest holdup for Seattle has been injuries, especially for Stewart, who was out for the whole of 2019 and the end of the regular season/playoffs last year. If Charles committed to being a part of that cohesion, he would surely make the storm an even greater threat. – Voepel

What is Charles’ biggest supporter and cheater in joining the Storm at this time of the season?

The biggest pro is simply that Charles from a talent perspective is a great player, someone who gets a lot of attention from opposing defenses and is a solid defender on his own. On paper it might seem like the best possible scenario for Seattle, which needs help after getting it over a competitor’s account.

The biggest drawback, frankly, is that Charles can be hard to play with if things don’t go the way you want them to. The benefit of the storm is that they already had three players who were teammates on the NBA team and knew Charles well at Bird, Lloyd and Stewart. Charles obviously didn’t believe Mercury would help her get a championship, so it would make sense that she’d be everything now with Seattle. To this extent, her attitude might be very different from what it seemed like on her short stay in Phoenix. – Voepel

What does the Storm roster look like next season?

As I wrote when Bird announced that this would be her final season, there are more questions than answers about the 2023 storm at this point with Stewart heading toward unrestricted free agency and the primary team designation already in use at Loyd.

If Stewart ends up leaving and Charles enjoys her time in Seattle this year, she could enter a more offensive role as a focal point alongside Loyd and Magbegor (who will be booked next season and able to negotiate a new contract only with Storm). Given that Charles turns 34 in December, this won’t necessarily be a long-term solution if Seattle loses MVP in the Finals twice, but that may mitigate the impact in 2023. Pelton


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