January 11, 2022 

Seattle Storm season in review: Jordin Canada

Next up in the Storm season reviews: the team's defensive standout

Position: Point guard (75%), small forward (15%), 2-guard (9%)

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Age: 25

Base stats: 29 GP (3 GS), 18.7 min, 5.8 pts, 38.9% fg%, 3-for-14 3pt., 84.1% ft%, 3.0 ast, 0.7 stl, 1.1 tov

Key advanced stats: +3.2 on-court plus/minus, -4 net plus/minus, 48.9% true-shooting (34th percentile), 43.8% FT rate (91st %ile), 24.7 ast% (90th %ile), 2.84 assist-to-turnover ratio (98th %ile), 2.4% pf% (96th %ile)

Shooting splits: 10.5 ft. average shot distance (730th %ile); 38.9% of attempts from 3-10 ft. (90th %ile), 18.8% of attempts from 10-16 ft. (85th %ile), 14.6% “long twos” (70th %ile), 9.7% of attempts from three (25th %ile); 53.8% fg% at rim (30th %ile); 28.3% of two assisted (20th %ile)

Pre-/post-Olympic splits: Pre — 5.3 pts, 37.1% fg%; post — 7.1 pts, 42.6%

Play-type stats: 0.716 points per PnR as a scorer (32nd %ile), 1.028 as a passer (89th), 0.62 per jump shot (12th %ile), 0.88 per layup (15th %ile); 0.717 points allowed defending PnRs (76th %ile)

Key quote — on if the end of the season:

I don’t know what to expect, or what’s going to happen with myself. So I think it’s just a little bit different, because who knows if we’ll all be together next year or not. And to be also one of those people in the position that could stay, could go, it just hits a little different. So it’s not goodbye, but it does hit a little bit different.

Best game: Aug. 29, v. Chicago — 17 pts, 6-for-9 FG (1-1 3pt., 4-4 FT), four rebounds, three assists, two turnovers, 28 min

Like Epiphanny Prince, the stats tell most of the story for Jordin Canada. The point guard’s fourth season has not only reaffirmed her status as an elite defender, but established that she might be a top-three backcourt defender in the league on a good day. Her ability to prevent dribble penetration, navigate screens, occupy passing lanes, disrupt handlers. And provide all-around defensive playmaking is nearly historic. Seattle often took advantage of this growth by playing her alongside Sue Bird and Jewell Loyd to guard opposing wings and act as a defensive joker or rover.

Her offensive playmaking has continued to grow, to the point where she’s one of the most capable and productive facilitators in the W. Few players possess the ability to manipulate defenses in the ways she does to open scoring for teammates. There remain times when she doesn’t see a window opening, but those have decreased over the years.

The problem is that she can’t score. In years past, she could score without necessarily shooting. But the passable-to-strong ability she had between the rim and midrange last year looks now more like a blip than a trend. She remains a very valuable player nonetheless, but her inability to create offense off the dribble makes her a poor fit for the current Storm bench.

Random highlight:

Current contract: Restricted free agent

Offseason Outlook: Unlikely to return

Seattle is sure to extend Canada a qualifying offer. And if the price is right, it shouldn’t be a surprise to see Canada stay in green and yellow. But with Bird returning, the Storm need an on-ball bench scorer more than they need a third All-Defense-level player. (The other two being Loyd and Breanna Stewart.) And Canada being a valuable piece on the right bench makes her an easy target for Las Vegas to pair with Kelsey Plum or Minnesota to play alongside Crystal Dangerfield. Those teams project to be up against the cap, too — but they won’t have three supermaxes on their books.

If Bird hadn’t returned, Canada’s situation would’ve been a little murkier. The dropoff between her playmaking and Loyd’s is sizable, but Bird’s shooting is a keystone to Seattle’s offense. Unless Katie Lou Samuelson suddenly shoots near the top of the league in three-point attempts, the Storm would’ve needed to have another shooter alongside Loyd, Samuelson and Stewart for significant minutes — either as a point guard who commands a salary that prohibits Canada’s return or as an off-ball guard who prevents Canada from jumping right into Bird’s 27.7 minutes per game.

Bottom line: Seattle will try to retain Canada, but if another team comes knocking, I don’t expect Seattle to match. And I’m not sure the team expects her back either.

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 WNBA at large and college basketball for The Next, with a focus on player development and the game behind the game.

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