Following the “contract divorce” between Tina Charles and the Mercury, the 2012 MVP and five-time All-WNBA First Team member signed with the Storm on Tuesday. She’ll be available to play on Wednesday against the Aces, per Winsidr’s Rachel Galligan.
The Storm will soon play four of 12 Olympic gold medalists from last year’s U.S. team, who are all headed towards Hall of Fame careers. Though Sue Bird is past the peak of her powers, Seattle essentially has a Big 4.
Should the rest of the league be worried?
Charles’ fit in the Storm’s rotation will determine how great the Storm will be
A year ago, Charles was in the conversation for a second MVP (nine years after her first) with the Mystics. In an offense that saw her slide to the center position and command the lion’s share of the offense, Charles enjoyed the most prolific scoring season of her WNBA career (23.4 points) on a career-high 3-point percentage (36.5%).
She won’t play that role in crunch time in Seattle, where Breanna Stewart is clearly the team’s top scoring option, and Jewell Loyd comes second. But in spurts, Charles should command the star attention she received on the offensive end in D.C. And if she can buy into the part-time No. 1 option role, Seattle just got a whole lot more scary.
Whether Charles, though an All-Star caliber player, starts and plays many minutes alongside the team’s other stars is a legitimate question. Charles and Stewart operate a lot of the same parts of the floor, and Magbegor, the alternative option at center, is Charles’ foil — and may make more sense to play in certain situations. But the idea of the Storm spelling Stewart’s minutes on the bench with a force like Charles makes them a whole stronger.
Charles defense will need to step up, though
Though she’s past her defensive prime, it’s tough to gauge how her play on that end of the court was swayed based on reasons outside of basketball.
First, the impact of Brittney Griner’s wrongful detainment. And second, the clear chemistry issues between the rest of the team. Per ESPN, Charles “regularly made comments about wanting to either be traded, cut or divorced from her contract. And in the first game without her, teammate Sophie Cunningham cheered “F*** Tina Charles” after a win.
The Storm have the third-best defense in the WNBA, holding opponents to 96.0 points per 100 possessions, which is three points better than their 2018 championship-winning team.