Editor’s Note: In 2019, Nothing But Nylon created Prestige Rankings, a system designed to display the very best and very worst teams any basketball league has had to offer over history. Using points based upon various accomplishments or failures, we have ranked every WNBA team in multiple ways to show you who has truly run the show since 1997. We’re up to #4 Seattle Storm, but take a look at all of the criteria and defunct teams to get a good idea of how things work.
Years Active: 2000-Present
Prestige Score: 73.2
Prestige Rank: 7/23
Active Rank: 4/12
Seattle is the lowest-ranked active team with multiple championships and not too far ahead of Atlanta and Indiana, who have one title combined between them. The Storm have three championships – 2004, 2010 and 2018 – which is tied for the second-most in the league, but outside of those three runs, it’s been exclusively first-round playoff exists and below-.500 records. That’s not an exaggeration: every Storm season has ended in a missed postseason, a first-round defeat or a championship. There is no in between for Seattle.
This juxtaposition has the Storm living off of the championship seasons, all three worth more than 360 points each. Otherwise, the most points Seattle managed in a season in our system was 39 in 2008 with a playoff appearance, one playoff win, an above-.500 regular season and two All-WNBA players. If it weren’t for those three title runs, the Storm would be sitting toward the bottom of these rankings with the likes of Chicago and Washington. But they happened, and championships are awfully important, so instead Seattle is easily in the top half of the league and enters the 2019 season in the top four.
Seattle Storm Totals
WNBA Championships: 3 |300 points|
WNBA Finals Appearances: 3 |180 points|
Series Wins: 8 |240 points|
Playoffs Wins: 25 |375 points|
Playoffs Byes: 2 |30 points)|
Playoffs Appearances: 15 |194 points|
Regular Season Top Record: 2 |20 points|
Above .500 Regular Season: 10 |40 points|
All-WNBA Player on Roster: 15 |45 points|
MVP on Roster: 4 |20 points|
Coach of the Year: 1 |5 points|
Regular Season Worst Record: 3 |-30 points|
Below .500 Regular Season: 7 |-28 points|
Total points: |1,377|
Best Year: 2010
The Storm were dominant from the get-go, getting off to a 9-1 start, then winning 13-straight from mid-June through July to be 22-2 at the end of the month. The team would lose some steam down the stretch before the postseason, ending with a 28-6 mark, setting a record for wins in a WNBA regular season that stood for four years.
As the top seed and heavy favorite to win the West as the only team in the conference with a winning record, Seattle faced the No. 4 seed Los Angeles Sparks in the Western Conference Semifinals. Swin Cash and Lauren Jackson took over, combining for 77 points on 27-of-54 shooting in the two games it took to dispatch of the Sparks comfortably, 2-0. The Storm met the No. 2 seed Phoenix Mercury in the Western Conference Finals, and behind Jackson’s 23 points and 17 rebounds in Game 1, Seattle took a 1-0 lead, 82-74. Phoenix got close to evening up the series in Game 2, holding a 71-61 advantage after the third quarter and a 13-point lead with 5-minutes and 35-seconds to play. From there, Seattle went on a 21-5 run to close the game, tying the game at 88 on a Cash layup with 36.2 seconds remaining, then a Sue Bird three-pointer with 2.8 ticks to give her team a decisive 91-88 series clincher.
In the WNBA Finals, the Atlanta Dream stood between the Storm and their second championship. In Game 1, Atlanta erased a six-point deficit in one minute to knot the game at 77 with 60 seconds left, but again, Bird hit a jumper to break the tie with 2.6 seconds remaining, swinging the game the Storm’s way. Another big 26-point night from Jackson and 17 points from Tanisha Wright, who averaged 9.2 points per game in the regular season, lifted Seattle to an 87-84 victory and 2-0 series lead.
The Storm completed the job in Game 3, but it wasn’t without drama. Seattle had opened up a 82-70 lead with 3-minutes and 15-seconds left, and again, Atlanta nearly overcame it. The Dream roared to within one, 85-84, with under 10 seconds to go. Camille Little sank two free throws moments later to put Seattle up three, then Atlanta missed two looks at three at the horn, securing the 2010 crown for Seattle.
Jackson was the team’s top scorer at 20.5 points per outing, with Cash (13.8), Bird (11.1) and Little (10.1) serving as second through fourth. She also did the most work on the glass, grabbing 8.3 rebounds per night, while Bird did the distributing, averaging a team-high 5.8 assists per contest. Head coach Brian Agler was in his third season in Seattle, and the championship was his first.
Jackson was named to the All-WNBA First Team, and Bird was on the All-WNBA Second Team. Jackson also won league MVP honors, and Agler was awarded Coach of the Year.
Worst Year: 2000
The Storm have finished at least tied for the worst record in the league three times, but never did the team perform worse than in its first year in 2000, suffering from the standard expansion woes.
Seattle never won two games in a row all season and went on four losing streaks of at least four games, the longest stretching to eight from late June to early July. In all, the team went 6-26, two games worse than the Charlotte Sting for the league’s bottom position, only averaging a meager 56.9 points per game for the season.
Edna Campbell averaged 13.9 points per game, first on the team, with Kamila Vodichkova (8.7), Robin Threatt-Elliott (7.8) and Simone Edwards (7.4) right behind. Vodichkova was the team’s top rebounder at 4.2 boards per night, and Sonja Henning posted a team-high 2.5 assists per outing. It was Lin Dunn’s first season as a head coach in Seattle and in the WNBA.
Winningest Coach: Brian Agler
After an unsuccessful stint with the Minnesota Lynx during that franchise’s first few years, Agler spent the next five years away from head coaching. Seattle hired him in 2008 to replace Anne Donovan, who resigned after five seasons following the 2007 season, bringing to an end his three seasons as an assistant for the San Antonio Silver Stars.
Seattle was riding a four-year playoff run coming into Agler’s tenure, and he did not let it end. For the first six of his seven seasons with the team, Agler had the Storm in the postseason, eventually stretching the streak to a full decade. In five of those appearances, his team lost in the opening round of the playoffs, but in his third season in 2010, it went all the way to match a stellar regular season, winning Agler’s first WNBA title and the second in Storm history.
In 2015, Agler left to become the head coach of the Los Angeles Sparks. He concluded his career in Seattle with a 147-112 overall record, 11-10 in the playoffs.
No. 12 – Las Vegas Aces
No. 11 – Dallas Wings
No. 10 – Chicago Sky
No. 9 – Washington Mystics
No. 8 – Connecticut Sun
No. 7 – New York Liberty
No. 6 – Indiana Fever
No. 5 – Atlanta Dream
No. 4 – Seattle Storm
No. 3 – May 22
No. 2 – May 23
No. 1 – May 24