January 10, 2022 

Seattle Storm season in review: Kennedy Burke

The Storm player reviews have their first real rotation player

Position: Small forward (70%), power forward (30%)

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Age: 23

Base stats: 23 GP (0 GS), 7.7 min, 2.9 pts, 44.6% fg%, 6-for-18 3pt., 62.5% ft%

Key advanced stats: -23.4 net plus/minus, 6.6% reb% (30th percentile), 0.64 assist-to-turnover ratio (11th %ile)

Shooting splits: 32.1% of attempts at rim (78th %ile), 7.1% of attempts from 10-16 ft. (30th %ile); 50.0% fg% from 3-10 ft. (82nd %ile); 100% of threes assisted

Play-types stats: 1.105 points per spot-up shot (55.9% eFG%, 86th %ile)

Key quote — on the difference between Seattle and Indiana:

I mean, it’s pretty much like night and day. The coaches here, to me, it kind of felt like it was a college experience, because like my coaches in college, they really cared about you — not only as a basketball player, but as a person. And I felt like here that was what they really focused on. I didn’t say it as much, but I wanted to let them know that I appreciate what they did for me. And I know at times, it was hard, but I wouldn’t be where I’m at right now if it wasn’t for them.

Best game: Aug. 29, v. Chicago — 7 pts, 13 min, 3-for-5 FG (1-2 3pt.)

Kennedy Burke came to Seattle via draft-day trade with the Fever, with the rights to the 11th-overall pick (wing Aaliyah Wilson) going to Indiana in return for the former second-rounder. It was billed as the Storm trading wing defense for forward defense, which… is not exactly how things panned out. Wilson remains a developmental project who played only 119 minutes, while Burke proved a relatively unspectacular two-way contributor. In a perfect world, the combo forward wouldn’t have played as much as she did; but the Candice Dupree signing, plus the unavailability of quality replacements at the trade deadline, left Seattle without an alternative.

Burke played the four more with the Storm after being almost exclusively a three in Indiana, a shift that helped, given her struggles against shifty wings. She remained limited as an individual defender due to slow feet and limited burst, but her skill at providing team defense within the structure of the Storm’s scheme made her a capable back-of-the-rotation player. Offensively, her lack of burst limited her from being much more than a cutter and spot-up threat. Her somewhat long release capped her value as a shooter, though.

Altogether, Burke would’ve proved a capable mid-bench player if Seattle’s bench was less of a liability. The complete absence of on-ball scoring there, however, meant she was usually overtasked.

Current contract: Fourth year of rookie-scale contract under old CBA ($72,141 in 2022, RFA in 2023)

Offseason Outlook: Likely to return

Burke will be just 24 this coming year, has proven to be a W-caliber player, and is on a second-round rookie contract. Seattle can’t afford to not roster players like that at this point.

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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