January 9, 2022 

Seattle Storm season in review: Karlie Samuelson

Next up in the Storm player reviews: their very-late-season addition

Position: 2-guard (84%), power forward (13%), small forward (3%)

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Age: 25

Base stats: 3 GP (0 GS), 10.7 min, 3.0 pts, 3-for-10 fg, 1-for-8 3pt.

Key quote:

The number one highlight [of the season] for me — it was very unexpected — was getting signed by Seattle for the rest of the season. But I think another highlight was getting picked up by LA and getting to hang on to my injury/hardship contract that I was on for as long as I did. And I just think it gave me an opportunity to play in this league. And it’s hard to make this league, and I’ve had quite the journey.

Karlie Samuelson joined the Storm Aug. 23, after the team gave her a workout when their paths happened to overlap in New York. The third-year off-ball guard had opened the season in Los Angeles, where she performed quite well for a minimum-salary hardship player, shooting 47.8 percent from three on 4.8 attempts per 36 minutes. She became a cap casualty once the Sparks got healthy, though. In swept Seattle, in need of a backcourt player to replace second-round pick Kianna Williams’ expired hardship.

Samuelson had the fewest minutes of anyone on the final roster, though she played more than twice Cierra Burdick’s minutes per game. As the stats attest, calling Samuelson’s contributions a small sample would be an understatement; for her entire season, though, she provided spacing around the perimeter.

Current contract: Reserved free agent

Offseason outlook: Unlikely to return

The Storm have tough decisions to make at off-ball guard/wing. Katie Lou Samuelson, Stephanie Talbot, and Epiphanny Prince are all better players than Karlie, but are at very different stages of their careers, and are set to command very different salaries in the coming years. Assuming they retain two of those three, there should be in the neighborhood of 12 minutes left over at the two.

Karlie isn’t a known quantity, having attempted just 59 threes for her career, but will still cost more than one of the Storm’s three second-round picks. Prospects like Virginia Tech combo guard Aisha Sheppard, Oklahoma combo guard Taylor Robertson, Michigan State point guard Nia Clouden and Texas A&M wing Kayla Wells all project as possible contributors for around $9,000 less.

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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