The Washington Mystics finish their regular season against the Connecticut Sun on Sunday. Both teams are 13-20.
Date and Time: Sunday, September 18, 2016 at 4 p.m.
Where: Verizon Center
Streaming: MonumentalSportsNetwork.com (DC) and WNBA League Pass
For the Mystics, Bria Hartley is pregnant and out. Ivory Latta and LaToya Sanders are also unlikely to play. For the Sun, Morgan Tuck and Rachel Banham will be out.
What’s at stake?
I’ll be honest, X’s and O’s don’t matter.
This game is about giving themselves a head start for the 2018 WNBA Draft Lottery. Ohio State guard Kelsey Mitchell is looking like an early contender in the class, and could be the number one pick in that season. If things look like the way that they’ll be, Mitchell will be the best Buckeye guard there since current Mystics guard Tayler Hill and former WNBA guard Samantha Prahalis were running the show.
I want draft picks, so ... I want the Mystics to lose this game. It’s just like how some of you guys are when the Wizards were teetering on the “will they or won’t they” make the playoffs feeling. But at least with the Wizards, John Wall is there and free agents could bail them out. The WNBA isn’t that way at all.
Don’t get me wrong. I don’t want the Mystics to play bad intentionally, but I want them to lose because they need more high draft picks to form the backbone of the roster.
Remember, a team’s two-year record is considered when it comes to lottery ball chances. Therefore, this game matters for the lottery in 2018 since it doesn’t appear that either team will contend in 2017 anyway.
Now, you may be wondering why I’m already defeated about 2017. It isn’t an Olympic or World Cup year, but you still have EuroBasket which takes place in June. LaToya Sanders will definitely miss half the season for that because she’ll represent Turkey.
But Emma Meesseman could lead Belgium into their first EuroBasket in a decade. If she can do it in qualifier games this November, she will miss the first WNBA games in her career because of this. And when she comes back midseason, the team will have to re-adjust, and all of that stuff could prevent them from getting it together.
We know Meesseman is one of the best players in the WNBA though she is as underappreciated as John Wall is for the Wizards and the NBA. A Mystics team without Meesseman — even for half a season — will find it very tough to win games. So that will “help” them get closer toward a second straight lottery season, AND a better chance at a 2018 first overall pick.
Wanting your team to lose for draft picks isn’t fun. But the bottom line is that in a league like the WNBA, you can’t seriously compete unless you have them.