The No. 5 pick in the WNBA draft is known for her quickness, but her teammates are finding out there’s more to her game.
As eager-to-please rookies are apt to do, Jordin Canada was the last player to leave the court Sunday afternoon following the Storm’s first training camp workout.
While a couple of players received massage treatments in a far corner of the gym at Seattle Pacific University and others streamed for the locker room, Canada, the No. 5 overall pick in the WNBA draft labored through a post-practice three-point shooting drill within earshot of Jewell Loyd, who chatted about her first-day impressions.
When asked to describe Canada’s abilities without using the words fast or quick — descriptions that are commonly used to depict the former UCLA star — Loyd touted her teammate’s mental acuity.
“She’s super intelligent,” Loyd said. “Her IQ, she’s very smart. She knows exactly where everyone is on the floor.
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“Her ability to get into the lane and know that shooters are in the corner, find them and give them perfect passes — that was something that we noticed right away.”
Moments later when the television cameras were turned off and the recorders tucked away, Loyd turned and spotted the Storm rookie nearby before playfully adding: “Oh and one more thing, Jordin Canada is just the worst!”
Canada smiled and shot back: “Too late Jewell. I already heard what you said and you love me.”
And really, what’s not to like about the speedy, 5-foot-6 point guard who figures prominently in the Storm’s immediate a long-term plans?
Canada begins her first WNBA season as the heralded backup behind perennial All-Star Sue Bird.
Whenever the 37-year-old Bird retires, the Storm is hoping Canada, 22, forms a championship nucleus with its young stars — 23-year-old Breanna Stewart and Loyd, 24 — for the next decade.
“I’m not going to be here forever,” Bird said. “At some point my time will come and I think the Storm does need someone who can kind of take the reins.
“I’ve watched Jordin. The thing I really like about her game is her speed and her quickness. These are things — it’s kind of like height — you can’t teach those things. You either have it or you don’t and she has it.”
Canada spent most of her first day with her new team playing opposite Bird. During a 5-on-5 scrimmage, Canada flashed her trademark quickness and swiped a few passes that led to easy baskets.
However, she also missed a steal near the end of practice, which resulted in an uncontested three-pointer from Bird.
“I was a little bit nervous because it’s my first day,” Canada said. “I’m trying to learn the offense and the defense. The speed of the game is a little bit different. Playing against veterans and older women is something I’ve never done before so it’s an experience within itself. Just making sure I’m slowing down and not overthinking too much.”
New assistant coach Crystal Robinson gave Canada advice that proved to be useful.
“She told me to respect everyone, but fear no one,” Canada said. “That’s what I try to do. Sue Bird has definitely been an influential part of my game. I love to watch her and what she does for the team.
“I just try to challenge Sue as much as possible with my strengths. … I’m just trying to come in here and not be fearful of anyone, but respecting everyone and their game and get better.”
• Alysha Clark, Kaleena Mosqueda–Lewis and Courtney Paris are absent from training camp while playing for teams overseas. Clark is expected to arrive in a few days and could be available for the May 8 exhibition opener.