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Mystics at Liberty preview: Washington’s Lottery Number down to one

With the playoffs unlikely at this point, let’s review the standings for the Draft Lottery.

Emma Meesseman taking a free throw
Emma Meesseman had a strong season. But it is time to limit her minutes or sit her out because the Draft Lottery is now more of a possibility.
Stewart W. Small

The Washington Mystics play the New York Liberty on the road tomorrow. Here’s the deal.

Game Info

When: Tuesday, September 14, 2016

Where: Madison Square Garden, New York City

TV/Online: ESPN3 online, MSG if you’re in the Big Apple.

Injury Report

For the Mystics, Ivory Latta and LaToya Sanders sat out last Sunday’s game. I doubt they’re playing the rest of the season.

For the Liberty, Shoni Schimmel recently had a concussion while Kiah Stokes is out for the season due to a hip injury. Tanisha Wright has a knee injury and is doubtful.

Draft Lottery Standings: The Mystics are most likely going to be last in terms of lotto chances, but could still be third.

Let’s stop dreaming about a scenario where the Mercury lose their three remaining games against the Sparks tonight (and L.A. has been slumping lately), the Storm, and the lowly Stars. It’s better for the Mystics to miss the playoffs now than to make them. They can use another lottery pick besides Tayler Hill. Remember, Emma Meesseman was a second round pick.

With that in mind, it’s better to see the Mystics lose the game. As a reminder, the lottery teams include the four teams who missed the playoffs. However, the team’s record for the last two years is counted instead of just that one season. It’s an anti-tanking measure which unfortunately hurts the Mystics a bit more since they won 18 games last season along with the Dallas Wings. Here are the standings as of today:

2016 preliminary wnba draft lottery standings
The Mystics have the most wins, but in this case, it’s a bad thing.

Let’s take a look at these team’s last three games:

  • Mystics: at Liberty tonight, at Dream Thursday, host Sun on Sunday
  • Sun: host Fever Tuesday, host Wings Friday, at Mystics Sunday
  • Wings: host Sun Friday, at Fever Sunday
  • Stars: at Dream Tuesday, at Sparks Friday, host Mercury Sunday

The Stars have the toughest schedule, are the worst team in the league, and have clinched the number one seed in the Lottery Standings. With that seed determined, things get a bit murky for the other three teams “fighting” for the second seed in the lottery standings.

Unfortunately, the Mystics will probably end up in last place (or fourth) for the lottery as well because they won too many games in the last two seasons. I just hope they can sneak up into third place which is about as much as they can hope for — if you’re on the tankwagon that is.

The Mystics play two playoff teams tonight and Thursday, and finish off the season against the already lottery-bound Sun. An example would be like this:

  • Mystics lose rest of their games - they have 30 wins
  • Sun win against the Wings (and the Mystics) - they have 31 wins.
  • Wings have to beat the Fever because they lose to the Sun - they get 30 wins, but the Mystics lose the lottery tiebreaker because their head to head record was 3 wins, and 2 losses. Remember, game wins are draft lottery losses.

I don’t want to see the Mystics play selfish ball or intentionally pass the ball to the opposition even though I want them to lose, so they may get a few more lottery balls. But at the same time, it doesn’t make sense to play older veterans at all or even the Meesseman and Hill tandem that many minutes. Therefore, this should give Ally Malott some more time to play since I haven’t seen much from her.

The chances of the Mystics sneaking into third place in the lottery aren’t high. But it’s doable, and they need to do whatever they can in order to make that possible.