November 15, 2020
Seattle Storm Player Review: Sami Whitcomb
Whitcomb enjoyed perhaps her best season in 2020 and helped position the Seattle Storm for a championship run.
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Sami Whitcomb became as pivotal of a player to the Seattle Storm as one can be without starting a game. Her 8.1 points per game led one of the league’s best benches in scoring and her 38.1 percent 3-point shooting gave her team yet another deep threat.
It’s usually the shooting for Whitcomb that many people focus on, but that’s just one facet of her game. When Sue Bird suffered a nagging bone bruise in her knee, Jordin Canada moved into the starting point guard. This left the Storm with no obvious backup point guard or at least a lead ball handler.
(For all of Seattle’s depth, they had no emergency point guard but, I guess, how many teams do?)
Coach Gary Kloppenburg held unofficial in-game auditions with veterans Epiphanny Prince and Whitcomb taking turns in the role. While Prince established herself as a reliable perimeter creator, Whitcomb showed she could handle the ball for stretches.
Her ability to drive and kick with the ball and get to the basket — in addition to her shooting, of course — allowed the Storm to better survive Bird’s injury. Bird wound up missing half of the season and Whitcomb’s versatility allowed Seattle to keep Canada fresh or get too weird and have Breanna Stewart run the offense.
While Whitcomb is a shooter, she is not just a shooter. One mark of a great player is the ability to step into whatever role is asked of them. She may be a spot-up shooter for stretches of a season but then asked to run the bench unit for a few games.
Her reliability should not go overlooked. Whitcomb has missed only two games in four seasons and played her second consecutive full season in 2020. Productive players are great, but healthy and productive players are even better.
Whitcomb left the Wubble before the Finals to be with her wife who was expecting to give birth to the couple’s first child. The Storm were able to close out the Aces without Whitcomb, who had struggled in the playoffs up to that point.
What the future holds for Whitcomb remains to be seen. While Whitcomb has spent all four seasons of her WNBA career with Seattle, she is a free agent and the Storm may have a cap crunch. Seattle has kicked the proverbial can down the road so many times but has several key players to re-sign this offseason and next aside from Whitcomb.
At age 31, would she consider a team-friendly, multi-year deal that allowed her to remain a part of the championship nucleus and provided long-term job security? This possibility seems reasonable, but this could be her last chance for a raise in the WNBA. There’s no right or wrong answer, of course, but she seems like a player the Storm want around as long as their championship window is open.