Unfortunately for the WNBA, some of the top players have priorities elsewhere. Last season Emma Meesseman was one such. Would her presence have made a difference in the WNBA Finals last season?
With players have other commitments throughout the WNBA season and the league not being able to pay them enough, questions are always going to be asked. This season, with Emma Meesseman back for the Mystics, the question is going to be :would she have made the difference last season for the Mystics?
The reason for this question is the Mystics star played in the first preseason game against the Minnesota Lynx, scoring 19 points in the loss. The Belgian star also collected six rebounds in a pleasing return to the franchise. However, despite these lovely numbers, my answer to the question is no, she would not have given the Mystics a title.
The reason for this is Breanna Stewart. Last year’s league and finals MVP was on another level. the only person who could stop Stewart last season was herself and she was not holding back. However, having Meesseman back this season had raised the expectations for the Mystics.
Last season they had a dream run, getting through the playoffs relatively unscathed. They had a wounded Atlanta Dream team to contend with in the semi-finals and dispatched them. Then, the class of Stewart, Sue Bird and Jewell Loyd was too much for Elena Delle Donne and company.
It did not matter who was on the court in the Finals, it was an easy bet the Storm were going to win. However, Stewart is not going to be playing this season. She tore her Archilles overseas and is now going to miss the season. This means that last seasons champs are now back with the pack and now other teams have to establish their bona fides.
The Phoenix Mercury were my hands down favorites for the title thanks to their amazing offseason but with Diana Taurasi missing time through surgery, they are going to be coming from a way back. Likewise, the Atlanta Dream are potentially without superstar Angel McCoughtry for a part of the season.
The Connecticut Sun have been weakened by the trade of Chiney Ogwumike but are a quality basketball team who are going to be there about. Likewise the Los Angeles Sparks cannot be ignored thanks to Candace Parker teaming up with the Ogwumike sisters.
However, the return of Meesseman has elevated the Mystics into the position of the team to beat in this writers humble opinion. Even though they lost the defensive presence of Tierra Ruffin-Pratt there is so much to like about this squad. It is time for the Washington Mystics, they should not be denied this year.