The 2022 Washington Mystics season (and yr) has been a couple of group in transition. For 2 years, followers have been hoping to see Elena Delle Donne again to full power most days, as Ariel Atkins and Natasha Cloud would make up one of many WNBA’s greatest defensive tackles. However most of all, followers needed to see the group make a playoff run with a few of the key gamers within the 2019 match.
Did all of this stuff occur? No. However total, I would say 2022 has been a profitable yr for the Mystics, as they’ve made a change between succeeding within the season, saying goodbye to some previous characters and what future groups will seem like.
The issues mystics ought to be happy with in 2022
I’ve to say, after re-watching the 2022 season of the Mystics and going over issues over the previous couple of weeks, this is what stands out in a constructive method.
- The Mystics use their first choose within the 2022 draft for Commerce all the way down to #3 And get a second lottery choose in 2023 – GM’s typical knowledge says to carry on to their first draft picks and solely commerce to a celebrity. The 2022 draft included a number of gamers who may have been No. 1 relying on who Washington needed. In the end, the Mystics selected Mississippi’s Shakira Austin because the third seed. And contemplating how properly she slot in with the Mystics, she might have been their first alternative all alongside. I will enter Austin at one other level.
- The Mystics have been the #1 protection within the WNBA – For your entire season, Washington held opponents to 97.8 factors per 100 possessions. This helped them to a 22-14 common season report. After the season, the beginning guards have been Ariel Atkins and Natasha Cloud Named to the All-WNBA Defensive First Crew. Cloud was additionally tied for fifth within the favor vote WNBA Defensive Participant of the 12 months.
- Elena Delle Donne is again because the Mystics’ main scorer per recreation in her first full season since her again damage – Delle Donne has accomplished your entire 2022 season from begin to end. In 25 video games, she scored 17.2 factors and 6.3 rebounds per recreation. It typically missed video games for load administration causes. She additionally averaged 19 factors per recreation within the playoffs. Though she did not seem on the All-Star or All-WNBA Crew, let’s take into account that she returned from a again damage within the 2019 WNBA Finals and was restricted to motion final season. It was good to see her return to her dominant self final season.
- Shakira Austin Makes USA Crew for the FIBA Girls’s World Cup – Austin wasn’t anticipated to begin in 2022. However GM coach after which head coach Mike Thibault is all the time able to belief his younger gamers when the chance presents itself. In the end, Austin began 32 of Washington’s 36 video games, averaging 8.7 factors and 6.5 rebounds per recreation. Austin additionally averaged these numbers at about 21.5 minutes per recreation. After the season, Austin was named to the WNBA All-Rookie Crew and the USA ladies’s nationwide basketball group, Successful the gold medal. Austin got here off the bench for a lot of the matches, however had spectacular performances within the group stage, together with A.J 19 factors, 10 rebounding efficiency in opposition to Puerto Rico.
- Ariel Atkins confirms her standing as one of many WNBA’s greatest guards – Atkins has been generally known as a stable defender and stable scorer all through her skilled profession. In every of her final two seasons, Atkins has stepped up her recreation and scored a extra central purpose for her group. She averaged 14.6 factors and a pair of.3 assists per recreation, made her second straight All-Star look and was additionally on Crew USA with Austin.
- Las Vegas sweeps the Aces within the common season, 3-0 – If the Mystics needed to face the Aces within the first spherical of the WNBA playoffs as a substitute of the Seattle Storm, I assure they’d have superior to the semifinals (though I do not suppose they’d have gained all of it). As a substitute, the Mystics have been the one group with a 20+ win report that was completed within the playoffs. And the Aces gained the WNBA championship.
Missed alternatives for the Sufis
- Rui Machida wasn’t the backup keeper she may have been – The Japanese celebrity of the 2020 Olympics was by no means anticipated to be a double-string within the WNBA. However I hoped she could be a stable participant for quarter-hour per recreation who may arrange teammates and maintain defenses sincere together with her scoring. As a passer, she was tenth within the league for help share (and averaged 2.6 assists per recreation). However Machida averaged simply 1.8 factors per recreation and shot 31 % from the sphere, which is not ok for a group seeking to get again to the WNBA Finals sooner fairly than later.
- Mischa Hines Allen working again for the second consecutive season after the 2020 season – Hines-Allen averaged 8.9 factors and 5.3 rebounds per recreation in 34 video games however solely began 15 video games. Maybe she is going to bounce again in 2023, however she is getting into the second yr of a assured contract that can pay her $175,100 this season and $180,200 in 2024.
Alicia Clark environment friendly three-point drop – Clark averaged 8 factors and 4.5 rebounds per recreation in 29 video games after lacking the 2021 season resulting from an damage to Lefranc. She remained a stable defender, however Clarke considerably fell behind together with her three-point photographs. She barely made 30 % of them (30 out of 99 makes an attempt). In 2020, her remaining WNBA season, Clarke made 35 of 67 triples for the Seattle Storm. And in 2019, she hit 51 out of 106 triples.
Clark performed longtime franchise participant Sue Hen as Seattle’s start line guard, so may Hen’s absence be the explanation Clark’s long-range taking pictures has dropped a lot? Not precisely as a result of Hen missed your entire 2019 season resulting from arthroscopic knee surgical procedure. My feeling is that recovering from Lisfranc’s surgical procedure could also be a part of it, however it’s one thing Clark might want to repair for subsequent season.
The Mystics say goodbye to Mike Thibault as their head coach, however he laid the muse for the group to succeed after him
After the 2022 WNBA season, Mike Tebow continued teaching as an assistant for Crew USA within the World Cup on Cheryl Reeve’s crew. after the match, He introduced that he was retiring as their head coach However he’ll stay as their normal supervisor. Affiliate head coach Eric Thibault is now named the brand new Mystics head coach.
Whereas Thibault would proceed to run the entrance workplace for the Mystics, it marked the tip of an period in Washington. Earlier than Thibault got here to DC, the Mystics had restricted success within the postseason and have been generally known as one of many WNBA’s most poorly managed groups. After coming to D.C. and rebuilding the group over a number of years, they have been lastly capable of win the 2019 WNBA Championship. And we’re grateful for that.
A number of key gamers from the 2019 group akin to Emma Messeman and Christy Tolliver have departed for different groups. However the Mystics drafted Austin this season and Cloud has grown right into a lone level guard in Washington. As Delle Donne heads towards the tip of her profession, they and Atkins seem like the core Eric Thibault will work to construct on final season’s success.
How do you all suppose the 2022 thriller season was an excellent match for you followers? Tell us within the feedback under.