The Mystics announced that LaToya Sanders has returned to Washington for the rest of the 2016 season. To make room for her, the team waived Jamie Weisner, who averaged 1.7 points a game in seven appearances for Washington.
Sanders, who is a Turkish citizen, missed the first 24 games of the season in order to focus on the Olympics where she is on the national team. She scored 22 points and grabbed 8.2 rebounds in Olympic play, where they made the quarterfinals.
With Sanders in Washington again, these are the main takeaways:
- Thibault has no intention of tanking 2016 - In many ways, the Mystics have already “tanked” the roster from an age standpoint. They can’t get much younger. However, Sanders is that “shot in the arm” the Mystics need in order to salvage their postseason hopes.
- Stefanie Dolson and Tierra Ruffin-Pratt better be worried about their minutes - Sanders is a power forward like Meesseman, but let’s be honest here. Sanders is a starter on a WNBA team. It makes no sense to bench Meesseman, who is already in form. But Dolson and Ruffin-Pratt haven’t been as effective. There’s a good chance that Meesseman plays at center and Sanders plays at the power forward spot for significant stretches now that she is back.
- The Mystics get a much-needed defensive boost - Washington is currently 10th in Team Defensive Rating. Sanders’ individual defensive rating was 88 last season, which was the best on the team. With a veteran from one of the world’s best teams on the squad now, the Mystics should be better in that area from hereon.
- While points 2 and 3 are nice, the Mystics still need more talent in the long run - Sanders’ addition is great from a W’s and L’s standpoint. But the bottom line is that if the Mystics do make the playoffs and are bounced out early, they will likely have another mid first round pick and continue to run on the Treadmill of Mediocrity. The main reason why I don’t advocate that the Mystics “blow it up” is because their core players are still very young. But though Sanders is a starter in this league, she is not going to be a “franchise or season savior.”
I’m happy to see that Sanders is returning to Washington. But at the same time, I’m not confident that she is the difference between the Mystics missing the playoffs and making a Final Four appearance in the new WNBA Playoffs format. It’ll be interesting to see how this shapes out.