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Top Stories of the Week: Mystics bounce back, Wizards get some new uniforms

It was a better week than the last two combined.

Tayler Hill gives some high fives during intros.
Ned Dishman, NBA/Getty Images

We are still very much in the thick of the “offseason doldrums” in the NBA. But here’s some good news. The NBA preseason is now less than one month away and training camp will start even sooner than that.

As a quick reminder, the Wizards’ first preseason game is against the Miami Heat on Tuesday, October 4.

The Mystics have also won a couple wins when push came to shove in their season, so their playoff hopes are still alive and well. Let’s get to the top stories for the week.

Mystics win two games in a row, play the Storm tonight

The Mystics split their Labor Day games when they lost to the Minnesota Lynx, 75-69 last Friday, and defeated the Dallas Wings, 88-83 on Sunday.

Following the Dallas win, they defeated the Chicago Sky, 118-81, which was the highest score they put up in franchise history. The Mystics will carry that momentum tonight as they face the Seattle Storm who currently hold the 7th seed in the playoffs.

It’s time to appreciate Tayler Hill’s improvement this season

hill vs lynx Stewart W. Small

Tayler Hill had a rough start to her WNBA career. She was the fourth pick in the 2013 Draft after some bally-hooed group of three, and went to a team that needed her to play at the same level as those three. Except, she didn’t start most of the games in her rookie season, she missed most of her sophomore season due to pregnancy, and she STILL didn’t start a single game in 2015. Meanwhile, two other players in her rookie class — Emma Meesseman and Tierra Ruffin-Pratt — were starting that season.

It’s not unusual to see fourth overall picks be bench players for several seasons. But when you see that a second round pick and an undrafted rookie have bigger roles sooner on a team that was in the middle of a youth movement before the ONLY lottery pick on the team, let’s just say that it doesn’t look good.

This season, Hill has vindicated the naysayers who think she is a bust or wasn’t worthy of being the fourth overall pick in 2015. She leads the team in scoring (15.7 ppg), and has improved her ability to get to the basket by posting a free throw rate of 49.2 percent, as opposed to 27.3 percent last season. She is also scoring 19.3 points per 36 minutes, which also leads the team.

There have been a couple pieces that highlighted her this week, so let’s share them right now:

  • Candace Buckner of The Washington Post wrote about Tayler Hill’s resurgence since the Olympic Break. Mike Thibault praised her work ethic, conditioning, and improved ability to get to the basket. Though she didn’t say it in these words, Hill also noted that she has become one of the Mystics’ vocal leaders. Emphasis is mine.
  • Mike Peden of Excelle Sports also had a piece on Hill. In the piece, Hill credited her pregnancy and motherhood as a source toward her maturity and dedication this season.

The good news is that Hill plays with a lot of confidence, and isn’t afraid to shoot the ball. Her shooting percentage of 34.4 percent is her lowest since her rookie season and is nothing to write home about. In order for her to become an elite guard that must improved. But that said, I really like that she is in excellent condition and is one of the fastest guards in the league. If Hill can make some efficiency improvements and Meesseman continues to become a more assertive scorer and leader herself, the Mystics will have a decent guard and low post duo for some time to come.

Wizards unveil some new alternates to pay tribute to the military

On Thursday, the Wizards released some new stars and stripes jerseys that Kelly Oubre modeled in. Check them out below!

Washington will wear these uniforms six times this season.

Other Wizards Stories from here and elsewhere

As usual, these are just some of the many links around the web this week. If you have another link you’d like to share, feel free to do so in the comments or as a FanPost.

Have a great weekend everyone!