January 12, 2022 

Seattle Storm season in review: Ezi Magbegor

The Storm season reviews move onto the team's best young prospect

Position: Center (82%), power forward (18%)

Age: 21

Base stats: 30 GP (3 GS), 15.2 min, 6.7 pts, 50.6% fg%, 5-for-9 3pt., 84.6% ft% on 1.3 fta, 1.5 orb, 1.0 blk, 2.2 pf

Key advanced stats: +0.4 on-court plus/minus, -7.8 net plus/minus, 56.4% true-shooting (78th %ile), 20.5% usage (seventh among centers), 12.0% orb% (94th %ile), 2.0% stl% (64th %ile), 5.3 blk% (97th %ile), 6.4% pf% (fourth percentile)

Shooting splits: 8.8 ft. average shot distance (21st %ile); 43.8% of attempts at rim (92nd %ile), 38.1% of attempts from 3-10 ft. (89th %ile), 4.4% of attempts from 10-16 ft. (19th %ile), 5.6% 3pa rate (19th %ile); 28.6% fg% from 10-16 ft. (31st %ile), 23.1% fg% on “long twos” (37th %ile); 77.6% of twos assisted (85th %ile)

Pre-/post-Olympic splits: Pre — 5.0 pts, 47.4% fg%; Post — 9.5 pts, 53.6% fg%

Play-type stats: 1.31 points per cut (77th %ile), 0.688 points per post-up (20th %ile), 1.159 points per layup (66th %ile)

Key quote:

When I look back, I think the bubble season was definitely a good season to kind of get adjusted to the WNBA and your teammates, because we’re kind of surrounded by them and just immersed in the whole experience. And just to be able to come to Seattle and actually be involved with all the travel and all of that was different this year. I think the travel is definitely something that can be quite taxing on athletes. So that’s something that I had to kind of get used to and learn how to recover on the road, especially with how we had a couple of long road trips this season as well. But it was really cool to just explore and kind of be able to get the chance to go to different cities as well, so I enjoyed that aspect of it. And I guess that’s a normal season in the WNBA, so going forward, I’m sure I’ll get used to it. I’ve loved living in Seattle and just being able to explore Seattle as well. So it’s been pretty cool.

Best game: Aug. 15, @ Chicago — career-high 21 points, 9-for-19 FG (0-1 3pt., 3-3 FT), nine rebounds (five offensive), two assists, three blocks, 31 min

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Entering the season at just 21, Magbegor was one the dozen-ish youngest players in the league, but it was clear early on that 2021 was a big step forward for her. The second-year big came out of the gate a much-improved defender, something stressed quickly by having to play alongside Candice Dupree. Her rotations were crisp and timely, she stuck with ball-handlers and hung with bigs better outside the paint, while providing valuable help defense. It also felt like the verticality to her rim protection got better, even if she remained an absolute foul machine.

The progress in her defense went a bit under-the-radar, though, because of her flashes on offense. Magbegor showed more as a ball-handler, opening shots on bluffed DHOs, growing more versatile as a post creator, and letting a few threes fly. Her minutes and scoring increased greatly as the season went on accordingly. There were still growing pains, of course, including more turnovers and inefficient turnarounds and inexplicably flubbed lay-ins. But her form looked good throughout and the game has seemed to start slowing down for her.

Between her hybrid defense and refining offensive arsenal, Magbegor is one of the best prospects in the WNBA. Even if she hits a developmental wall soon, she’s a valuable player.

Random highlight:

Current contract: Third year of late-first-round rookie-scale contract ($60,471)

Offseason outlook: Will return, obviously

Magbegor is on one of the few most valuable contracts in the W. She’s not going anywhere.

Position data per WNBA Advanced Stats, shooting splits per Basketball Reference, play-type data per Synergy

Written by Em Adler

Em Adler (she/they) covers the Seattle Storm and college basketball for The Next, while also writing for The Chronicle, Duke's independent student paper

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