The Seattle Storm's 2021 training camp is in full swing.
As the Storm look to bring a fifth title back to the Emerald City and second one in two years, Sue Bird, who returns for her 20th season with the Storm; is not thinking about a repeat quite yet.
“I’m not thinking about playoffs yet. I can’t. We have to stay really in the moment,” Bird told NBCSNW.
The 40-year-old point guard along with 2020 WNBA Finals MVP Breanna Stewart; and two-time all-star guard Jewell Loyd lead the charge in the veteran returners from last season.
But last season’s championship roster had a lot of shakeup this offseason.
Seattle added guard Katie Lou Samuelson, forward Mikiah Herbert Harrigan, and guard Kennedy Burke through trades. The Storm also signed free agent forward Candice Dupree in February.
In this year's WNBA Draft, Seattle selected guard Kiana Williams at No. 18 overall along with forwards N’dea Jones at No. 23 overall and Natalie Kucowski with the No. 35 overall pick.
“We had a lot of shakeup in our roster,” Bird explained. “We lost two starters, we lost essentially our first guard off the bench. So three of our top six, seven players and I think, for any team, that’s going to be tough, but especially for us because I think what allowed us to have the success that we had was the chemistry.”
Storm head coach Dan Hughes returns to the sideline after missing the 2020 season due to health concerns while the WNBA played in the 'Wubble' in Bradenton, Florida.
Bird says the 2021 Storm squad is working on its chemistry while still understanding that they won’t be the exact same team they’ve been in the past "and that’s okay."
The Storm opens the season with seven of their first nine games at home.
While renovations continue at Climate Pledge Arena, formerly KeyArena, Seattle’s 32-game regular season slate that features 16 home games, will all be played at Angel of the Winds Arena in Everett, Washington.
Renovations to Climate Pledge Arena are set to continue through the fall.
Bird, 40, now entering her 20th year in the league, is looking at the short-term.
In 519 career games, Bird holds career averages of 12.1 points, 5.6 points, and 2.6 rebounds.
But as she has shown over the years, it’s the way Bird makes her teammates better that always shines through in her game.
And that's what she's looking to do yet again.
“I think because we have a new team, for me, it’s just continuing to be a leader for this team, just a steady person in the locker room who can help build that chemistry faster by bridging a lot of different gaps. We have to bring some new players in and get them acclimated and so how can I speed up that process?” Bird said.
“I think what’s great about keeping your goals kind of simple and in the short-term is -- there are long-term benefits, but you don’t have to get ahead of yourself. Sometimes the long-term goal can cloud the short-term.”
That’s sound advice for an athlete, but really just good advice in life.
It’s no wonder Bird has been able to compete at an elite level for years and years.
And she’s not done yet.
Bird and the Seattle Storm tip-off the 2021 season on May 15 in a WNBA Finals rematch at home against the Las Vegas Aces.