Mystics Upgrade Their Frontcourt
On April 11th, Trudi Lacey sat in the Mystics draft room, hung up the phone with the league office, and after pausing for a moment, raised her arms in the air and screamed "We did it!'.
When asked about the Mystics moves around and on draft day Lacey calls it “divine intervention”. In just under a week, Lacey had turned Lindsey Harding into a frontcourt that would rival any team in the WNBA.
Rewind two months and Lacey was dealing with her first major problems as GM of the Mystics. Harding was looking to play closer to her family, and Lacey was looking to fill one of the Mystics biggest needs; their frontcourt. In late February Lacey thought she had a three-team deal in place, with the key for the Mystics being Nicky Anosike. Unfortunately the deal fell through, leaving Lacey back at the drawing board.
Despite the setback, Lacey continued to shore up the Mystics' depth. She added talented players from overseas to the roster, waiting for her time to strike with a big move.
Finally, just a week before the draft, Lacey pulled the trigger to acquire the player she had targeted a few months before; Anosike.
In the move, the Mystics sent their 2012 first round pick to Minnesota, but the 6'3" center was exactly the type of player Lacey had wanted in her frontcourt to play alongside All-Star Crystal Langhorne ever since she took over as the team’s General Manager and head coach. Anosike was defensive-minded, could run the floor, and best of all Anosike wanted to be a part of the Mystics.
With Anosike in the fold, Lacey turned her thoughts to draft day knowing that this would be one of the better chances to improve the Mystics and unload Harding. As the clock slowly ticked to April 11th, the phone lines were consistently lit up with all sorts of options for the Mystics, but it wasn't until the morning of the draft that things really picked up. With the front office all huddled up in the war room, and even assistant coach Marianne Stanley Skyping in from Russia, the Mystics and Dream agreed in principle on a blockbuster deal. The move would send Harding to Atlanta for the Dream's #8 overall pick in the 2011 draft, their 2012 first round pick and Kelly Miller.
It was a scenario that seemed inconceivable just a few months before. Not only had the Mystics acquired Anosike, a player Lacey had coveted for months, but they also were able to replace the 2012 first rounder they lost in that deal and now also owned the #8 pick in the draft, plus Miller.
While the trade had everyone in the room buzzing, it wasn't until the draft started when the real excitement began. As the picks steadily were announced, the anticipation in the war room continued to rise as two of the Mystics higher rated players continued to stay on the board. Finally the Mystics (technically the Dream) were on the clock. The talk instantly turned into a discussion with Lacey and the rest of the front office debating whether the team should take Ta'Shia Phillips, a powerful 6'6 center from Xavier, or Victoria Dunlap, an athletic 6'1 forward from Kentucky. After a few minutes of discussion the Mystics called the Dream, who then selected Phillips for the Mystics.
The claps and high-fives around the room quickly faded as just a few minutes later the Mystics were once again on the clock. After arguing over who to take at #8 there was little discussion on who the team would grab at #11 as Dunlap fell into their lap, leading to screams from around the war room.
Lacey called it divine intervention, and with Langhorne, Anosike, Chasity Melvin, Phillips and Dunlap it soon might be called one of the best frontcourts in the WNBA.