December 11, 2023 

Seattle Storm continue rebuild with No. 4 pick

'We’re excited to be where we are and make the most out of that'

As anticipated, the Seattle Storm received the No. 4 pick in the 2024 WNBA Draft Lottery on Sunday, trailing the Indiana Fever (No. 1), the Los Angeles Sparks (No. 2) and the Phoenix Mercury (No. 3).

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A 22-14 record in 2022 coupled with the 11-29 in 2023 positioned Seattle at the lowest possibility of receiving the No. 1 pick at 10.4%. The last time that the Storm finished the season with 11 wins was in 2015, securing the No. 1 pick in the draft lottery that ultimately led to their selection of Breanna Stewart in the 2016 WNBA Draft.

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While it was unlikely that the Storm would receive any pick other than No. 4, the confirmation of the draft order is important as the organization goes forward in their scouting process. While this upcoming draft, currently scheduled to take place on April 15, is thought to be one of the highest caliber drafts in WNBA history, the final draft board is still uncertain as many prospects have additional years of eligibility.

“Knowing you have the fourth pick versus like one or two, you have to really be prepared for more players at that spot,” Storm general manager Talisa Rhea told The Next following the lottery. “You just have to be prepared for more scenarios. You have to do your due diligence and understand the players that will be in the draft and the players that could opt out and be prepared for both scenarios. So really, as much homework as we can do now, to be as best prepared as we can come April, the better.”

Scouting-wise, Seattle’s management and coaching staff continue to emphasize the importance of team chemistry when looking for draft and free agency prospects.

“We want a good player that’s going to fit our culture and be a positive impact in the locker room,” Rhea said. “Having a player that’s versatile, can play multiple positions, can play in transition at a quick pace and how we like to play. And the last piece is a high IQ, someone who’s going to pick up concepts and be able to adjust quickly into a new system and a new game. So we’re excited to evaluate all of that.”

The first step in Seattle’s preparation for the draft came in September when their last standing No. 1 overall pick, Jewell Loyd, solidified her commitment to the franchise by signing a two-year contract extension. Rhea emphasized that one of her team’s biggest priorities is creating a “strong roster of talented players” to “complement Loyd’s commitment to the Storm.”

This extension provides a sort of time cushion for Seattle to allow Loyd to build alongside this No. 4 pick, along with the franchise’s other young talents including Jordan Horston, the No. 9 pick in the 2023 WNBA Draft.

Following the end of Seattle’s season, head coach Noelle Quinn discussed her vision for the 2024 roster.

“We need a point guard, a starting point guard,” Quinn told media in September. “We also need another complementary player alongside Jewell, another scorer. Some more physicality in the paint, we like those things.”

While a point guard is clearly a need, so is veteran leadership. With a draft class that includes 6’7 center in Kamilla Cardoso of South Carolina who is projected by ESPN’s mock draft to go No. 4 overall, it may be wise for the Storm to look for the physicality in the paint in the incoming rookie class and the starting veteran point guard in free agency.

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“We want something that is going to be sustainable for long term success,” Rhea said. “I think we’re going to end up with a very talented player that’s going to have an impact on our roster right away, which is what you want going into the draft. We’re excited to be where we are and make the most out of that.”

Written by Rowan Schaberg

Rowan Schaberg (she/her) is a Seattle native covering the Seattle Storm for The Next. She is currently studying Sports Journalism at Colorado State University.

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