2013 WNBA Season Previews: Washington Mystics

 

PG: Ivory Latta

SG: Matee Ajavon/Tayler Hill

SF: Monique Currie

PF: Crystal Langhorne/Emma Meesseman

C: Kia Vaughn/Michelle Snow/Jessica Moore/(Quanitra Hollingsworth to arrive later)

(plus two of Gs Shay Peddy, Nadirah McKenith and Tierra Ruffin-Pratt, pending a final cut)

 

Significant gains: Ivory Latta, Kia Vaughn, Tayler Hill, Emma Meesseman (maybe), and Mike Thibault on the sidelines.

Significant losses: Trudi Lacey (well they ‘lost’ her and it was significant, right?), and over half the terrible roster from last year.

 

It was good news/bad news for the Mystics after last season’s excruciating crawl to 5-29 was finally over. The horrible news came quickly, when the lottery dropped them from the highest chance of landing Brittney Griner to #4 in what most saw as a three-player draft. But then Connecticut decided they’d had enough of solid seasons and consistently being pretty good under Mike Thibault, and gave him his walking papers. After two years of Trudi Lacey, resulting in a combined record of 11-57, Washington fans would’ve given their right arms for ‘solid’ or ‘pretty good’. So Thibault got the job, and a mild sense of optimism returned to the Mystics. The situation is similar to Tulsa’s last year – no one’s expecting miracles, and not even necessarily a playoff challenge. But they finally feel like someone competent’s in charge of the operation, and they’re moving in the right direction. It’s a positive step.

 

It’s hard to turn over an entire roster in one offseason – and not necessarily advisable, even when the team’s awful – but Thibault’s done what he could. He found an upgrade at point guard, signing Ivory Latta as a free agent to replace Jasmine Thomas (who was traded away). Latta will give them an extra scoring threat in the backcourt, and simply speed up the offense with her attacking mentality. The jump in the draft from the Thomas trade led to a subsequent trade with New York for Kia Vaughn, who deepens the post options. Then there was Tayler Hill, a guard taken with that 4th pick they ended up with in the lottery, who offers another backcourt scoring option and the potential to become a key piece. Finally, under the radar, 20 year-old Belgian post Emma Meesseman went as the 19th pick in the draft and could be a steal if she adapts to the WNBA and develops. She could have trouble with the physicality of the WNBA to begin with, but she’s skilled and long, with some range on her shot. And the Mystics have time to wait for her to grow.

 

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2012 In-Depth Season Preview: Washington Mystics

PG: Dominique Canty/Jasmine Thomas

SG: Matee Ajavon/Noelle Quinn/Natalie Novosel/Natasha Lacy

SF: Monique Currie

PF: Crystal Langhorne/Lindsay Wisdom-Hylton/(LaToya Pringle)

C: Michelle Snow/Ashley Robinson

Significant additions: Canty (free agency from Chicago), Currie (missed vast majority of last season through injury), Lacy (trade with Los Angeles), Novosel (college draft), Quinn (trade with Los Angeles), Robinson (trade with Seattle), Snow (free agency from Chicago), Wisdom-Hylton (claimed off waivers from Chicago)

Significant losses: Alana Beard (free agency to Los Angeles), Marissa Coleman (trade with Los Angeles), Nicky Anosike (trade with Los Angeles), Kelly Miller (free agency to New York), Victoria Dunlap (trade with Seattle), DeMya Walker (free agency to New York)

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You know what’s strange – I actually see the logic here. It’s easy to rag on the Mystics and head coach/general manager Trudi Lacey. This team was a disaster last year. They failed to retain the coach and general manger that produced their best ever season in 2010, and everything went downhill from there. Constant comments about injuries and blatant nonsense about how young the squad was did them no favours with their remaining fans, and when the season finally ended after just six wins all year, it was a blessed relief. But Lacey’s moves in the offseason made sense. The organisation finally cut ties with former franchise player Alana Beard, having had enough of paying her to be injured. Then they retained the three players that emerged from last season with any credit – Crystal Langhorne, Matee Ajavon and Monique Currie – and turned over practically every other spot on the roster. Isn’t that what you ought to do after a horrendous year? Keep the few positives, and change everything else that you can? Lacey’s also built herself a much more experienced, veteran squad, which fits the players she seemed to favour last season. Yes, it’s probably going to be more than a one-year process to resurrect this team from the depths it plumbed last season, but what she’s doing makes some sense. Continue reading

WNBA Offseason Overview/Preseason Preview: Washington Mystics

Current roster certainties and virtual certainties:

PG: Dominique Canty/Jasmine Thomas

SG: Matee Ajavon/Noelle Quinn

SF: Monique Currie

PF: Crystal Langhorne

C: Michelle Snow/Ashley Robinson

Fighting it out for the remaining three spots: Natalie Novosel, Natasha Lacy, Kerri Gardin, LaSondra Barrett, LaToya Pringle, Laura Harper, Ashley Walker

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At least there are some new names in DC, even if the general quality isn’t much different from last year. They let former franchise player Alana Beard walk after growing tired of paying her to be injured; shipped wing Marissa Coleman to LA for Noelle Quinn in the hope that both could benefit from a change of scenery; dumped Nicky Anosike on LA in a separate deal, this time for fringe backups Natasha Lacy and LaToya Pringle; sent last year’s first-round pick Victoria Dunlap to Seattle for backup center Ashley Robinson; and signed over-the-hill point guard Dominique Canty and consistently inconsistent veteran big Michelle Snow as free agents. And breathe. You certainly can’t accuse head coach/general manager Trudi Lacey of being inactive in trying to improve this team after the debacle last season. Continue reading

WNBAlien 2011 Previews: Washington Mystics

PG: Kelly Miller/Jasmine Thomas

SG: Alana Beard/Matee Ajavon

SF: Marissa Coleman/Karima Christmas

PF: Crystal Langhorne/Victoria Dunlap

C: Nicky Anosike/Ta’Shia Phillips

Bench in street clothes because they refuse to waive her: Monique Currie

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Head coach: Trudi Lacey

Significant additions: Return of Beard, Anosike, and the host of rooks.

Significant losses: Lindsey Harding, Katie Smith, Monique Currie, Nakia Sanford, Chasity Melvin, head coach Julie Plank, and GM Angela Taylor. And the faith of many supporters.

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Some fans may be disappointed that their teams didn’t make many changes over the offseason; to those people I can only say be careful what you wish for – you could be a Mystics fan. Continue reading