WNBAlien Special – Grading the Trade: Storm Blows it Up

The Seattle Storm got 2012 off to a surprising start in the WNBA on Monday, sending Swin Cash, Le’coe Willingham and a late-second round pick in the 2012 draft (#23 overall) to Chicago for the #2 overall pick in that same upcoming draft. It’s been pretty apparent for a while that Seattle needed to freshen up their roster and get younger, but this was still a somewhat shocking way to open up the offseason transactions. Two key parts of your rotation for a pick in what’s generally seen as a weak draft class – for a coach/GM who’s shown no interest in using any young, inexperienced players in recent years – is a bold step. Time will tell whether it’s one step back to eventually move two forwards, or just a hop in the wrong direction.

Cash didn’t have a great season in 2011. She went through long stretches where she wouldn’t have hit water shooting off the side of a boat, and the 41% three-point shooting she discovered in the Storm’s 2011 championship season disappeared entirely. But she was still a strong defender, a physical presence who could defend the perimeter and fight down low on switches, and occasionally her scoring touch returned, leaving her overall 2011 numbers at nearly 40% from the floor and right around her career average of 13 points per game. At 32 years old, and with a chequered injury history, she’s probably starting the downslope of her career trajectory, but there’s a good few years left on those legs. Big, true small forwards aren’t easy to find in this league – just look how long Chicago have needed one, for example – and the Storm could have serious problems replacing her. Continue reading