Last season the Washington Mystics came very close to winning it all before being swept in the Finals by the Seattle Storm. They are going to want to reload and go again this season.
The Washington Mystics were a really pleasant surprise last year. They received news that one of the stars Emma Meessemen was going to miss the season, concentrating on her national team instead. Despite losing such an important player, the Mystics still made the finals.
This season the Mystics have the chance to keep the majority of their core together while adding real substance off the bench. Here is the list of players who are coming back for the Mystics.
Ariel Atkins – Surprise of the year for me. I will admit to wondering what the Mystics were doing when they drafted Atkins. Her effort on plays proved me wrong time and again throughout the season.
Elena Delle Donne – Not much needs to be said about this absolute super star of the game. When she is healthy she is almost unguardable and deserves another MVP and multiple championships.
Rebecca Greenwell – Selected in the 2018 draft at number 31 and did not play a game last year.
Tianna Hawkins -Played in 32 games for the Mystics and was great offense off the bench. Added a 3-point shot to her game and will be crucial for the Mystics in another post-season run.
Myisha Hines-Allen – Another selection from the 2018 draft, Hines-Allen was good in a number of games last season. Showed plenty of energy and hustle and will be better this coming season.
Emma Meesseman – The prodigal Mystic returns. While the Mystics were great last year without her, they will be better this year with Meesseman in the lineup. Meesseman is capable of putting up double-doubles on a regular basis and is a tremendous foil for Delle Donne.
Aerial Powers – Powers is a high tempo guard who is yet to find a true home in the WNBA. With solid ball skills will potentially provide great bench minutes this season.
Kristi Toliver – A true point guard, Toliver is at her best when she is connecting on the 3-ball. This gives her options to shoot, drive or pass, all things she does extremely well. When she is on, the Mystics are almost unstoppable.
Shatori Walker Kimbrough – A good backup guard, Walker Kimbrough regressed last year, only scoring in double figures twice. She is still on a rookie contract so should be on the team next year.
Free agents to be re-signed
The Mystics have five players who are off contract this season. Not all of them will be re-signed with the franchise looking to improve on last seasons finals berth. They have about $300,000 salary cap space.
Natasha Cloud – One of the players off contract is the must sign Cloud. She hit that game winner last season which helped the Mystics momentum. Scoring 8.6 points per game off the bench is respectable, she also led the team in assists per game. Her 38.6 percent from beyond the arc is desirable. At 27 Cloud is owning her game and will show more over the next contract period.
Tierra Ruffin-Pratt – TRP is a defensive spark off the bench. Her ability to shut down a player is second to none on this team. Her ability to turn momentum in favour of her team is crucial for the Mystics. She is a crucial part of this team going forward.
LaToya Sanders – Starting 25 of her 28 games played Sanders was fourth in points and second in rebounds and blocks as well as first in steals. Sanders also had the highest field goal percentage on the team. Sanders is a crucial element to the success of the team.
Unlikely to be re-signed
Monique Currie – As much as I love the game of Currie, her output of 6.6 points and 3.0 rebounds per game was not good enough for the $105,000 price tag. Being a veteran, Currie is entitled to a large salary but the Mystics will have Meesseman back and this will take away a lot of game time from Currie.
Krystal Thomas – Playing the second least minutes per game of the entire franchise, Thomas is the least likely to be re-signed. The Mystics will have the option of signing their draft picks as well as other free agents.
The Mystics have two options going forward this free agency period. They can stand pat, trying to re-sign their own free agents or they can aggressively try to upgrade one or two of their positions to try and go one better.