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Let’s be honest, the Seattle Storm are an embarrassment of riches in the talent department. Their starting five is an all-star lineup unto themselves, which makes viable WNBA starters like Jordin Canada come off the bench. It’s an extremely happy problem for a team to have.
Because of the Storm’s immense depth, it’s difficult to give everyone proper shine. Among those who perhaps don’t receive all the attention they deserve is guard Jewell Loyd. However, no basketball fan should allow themselves to forget just how good she is.
Loyd arguably put forth a career year in her sixth WNBA season. She set career highs in efficiency and steals while ranking second on the team in scoring. While not a career-high, Loyd further established herself as an all-around playmaker, averaging over 15 points and three assists per game. Overall, the Storm were 8.3 points better with Loyd on the floor.
Despite being a former All-Star and one of the best players at her position, you don’t hear Loyd complain. As I wrote in September, Loyd sacrifices a significant number of personal glory for the benefit of the team. Yet, she knows when to assert herself and when to remain in the flow of the game.
Her ability to adapt to the situation allows her to help make her teammates better or call her own number. This was never more apparent than early September against Los Angeles in a game with playoff ramifications. Loyd’s buzzer-beater gave the Storm the tiebreaker over the Sparks.
That’s the great thing with Loyd: she’s always ready for big moments. Some players may lose their feel for the game or get antsy if they don’t get their shots, but not Loyd. For the second time in three seasons, Loyd has contributed to a championship run.
It almost sounds strange to say a team’s second-leading scorer is underdiscussed, but it still feels true with Loyd. Despite the coming salary cap restraints for the Storm, it’s difficult to not imagine her and Stewart leading the franchise into the next era together.