December 30, 2020 

Seattle Storm player season review: Ezi Magbegor

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Magbegor was a WNBA rookie, but not a professional basketball rookie

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Ezi Magbegor #13 of the Seattle Storm handles the ball against A’ja Wilson #22 of the Las Vegas Aces in Game 3 of the WNBA Finals on October 6, 2020, at Feld Entertainment Center in Palmetto, Florida. Copyright 2020 NBAE (Photo by Ned Dishman/NBAE via Getty Images)

Contending teams like the Seattle Storm seldom have use for rookies. That’s why Ezi Magbegor made sense for them. Magbegor may have been a WNBA rookie in 2020, but she had been recruited to play professionally in Australia since she was 15 years old. Before joining the Storm, Magbegor played two seasons in the WNBL.

So Magbegor was a WNBA rookie, but not a professional basketball rookie.

Magbegor’s experience enabled her to slot comfortably in the Storm’s rotation. While her 292 minutes played ranked just eighth on the team, that’s more than veterans Morgan Tuck and Crystal Langhorne and just 12 fewer than Mercedes Russell. This is a fair amount of playing time considering the minutes Breanna Stewart and Alysha Clark play in the frontcourt.

There was certainly an adjustment period to the WNBA, as there would be for a player playing in the WNBL the first time. Yet it was clear that Magbegor had a good understanding of the game from Day 1. Knowing where to be and what to do (or what not to) is half the battle sometimes.

Magbegor picked her spots on offense, and that led to many high-percentage shots. Her 56.9 percent field goal percentage ranked ninth overall in the league. Having a reliable bench scorer who doesn’t need the ball was a benefit to a Storm team with a lot of players in need of shots.

Defensively, Magbegor was promising. The Storm’s 97 defensive rating with her on the floor was impressive and she asserted herself as a defensive playmaker, leading the team in block percentage.

Unfortunately, Magbegor struggled in a reduced role in the playoffs. Over six games, she played just 35 minutes and didn’t exactly make the case for more playing time, shooting 2-of-9 from the field. The nice thing for Magbegor playing for the Storm is not having to carry the team, as Seattle still won the title.

As the Storm navigate their salary cap challenges these next two offseasons, Magbegor figures to have a greater and greater role on the team. Seeing whether her production holds up in an expanded role will be something to watch as she advances in her career.

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