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WNBA Draft 2018 Preview: Washington Mystics

2017 Record: 18-16, No. 6 seed in Playoffs, Eliminated by Lynx in Semifinals

Key Offseason Moves:

  • Signed free agents Monique Currie and Devereaux Peters
  • Re-signed Tianna Hawkins, LaToya Sanders, Allison Hightower and Asia Taylor
  • Announced Emma Meesseman will not play in 2018

Last Year’s Draft Picks:

  • 1st Round/No. 6 Overall – Shatori Walker-Kimbrough (from Seattle)
  • 2nd Round/No. 18 Overall – Jennie Simms (from Seattle)
  • 3rd Round/No. 27 Overall – Mehryn Kraker

This Year’s Draft Picks:

  • 1st Round/No. 7 Overall
  • 2nd Round/No. 19 Overall
  • 3rd Round/No. 31 Overall

2017 Season Highlights:

All-Access: Mystics Advance To Semifinals

Team Needs/Draft Strategy:

The Mystics underwent a major shakeup last offseason by trading for 2015 MVP Elena Delle Donne and signing All-Star guard Kristi Toliver after she won a title with the Sparks. That infusion of talent helped the Mystics get back to the playoffs after a one-year absence and make a little bit of noise once they got there.

Washington defeated Dallas in the first round and New York in the second round to advance to the semifinals. In Washington’s previous nine playoff appearances dating back to 2000, the team had only advanced past the first round once (2002) and had never advanced past the second round. They held a 5-19 playoff record entering the 2017 postseason.

By winning those two single-elimination rounds, the Mystics entered unfamiliar territory and a meeting with the Minnesota Lynx in the best-of-five semifinals. Despite falling to the Lynx in three games, the season was a great stepping stone for the Mystics as they proved to be a team to be reckoned with for years to come.

Washington will try to make the leap to title contender in 2018, but there are some hurdles standing in its way. First, center Emma Meesseman will not play in 2018 as she prepares for the 2018 World Cup with her Belgian National Team. The team will also be without guard Tayler Hill until June as she continues to recover from a torn ACL suffered last season.

So far this offseason, the Mystics have added veteran guard Monique Currie (returning to where she played from 2007-2014) and forward Devereaux Peters (who played for Indiana in 2016 before sitting out last season due to injury) in free agency. The team also re-signed Tianna Hawkins, LaToya Sanders, Allison Hightower and Asia Taylor to keep the main core of the team together along with Delle Donne, Toliver, Krystal Thomas, Tierra Ruffin-Pratt and last year’s first-round pick, Shatori Walker-Kimbrough.

Head coach Mike Thibault has been open to saying that the Mystics will target a wing in the draft, which is “something we have been trying to address for the long-term.” While he will not drop any names or provide hints as to which prospects he favors, players like Connecticut’s Gabby Williams or Mississippi State’s Victoria Vivians would fit in nicely with Thibault’s idea of playing position-less basketball.