The year 2019 is coming to a close! Here are this year’s top read pieces on the Washington Wizards and Mystics!
Our Top 5 read stories in 2019
The Wizards are on down times. Non-Big Four like D.C. United and the Mystics are admittedly moving up the pecking order. Still, our top five read stories were all around the Wizards around key parts of the NBA calendar: the trade deadline in February and free agency in July.
No. 1 — Wizards acquire Moritz Wagner, Isaac Bonga and Jemerrio Jones, second-round pick from Lakers in three-team trade
Before running the numbers, I thought that the biggest story of the year would be Rui Hachimura getting drafted or the Otto Porter trade last February. Instead, it was a Wizards trade involving the Los Angeles Lakers and New Orleans Pelicans.
There is a reason why this trade was big. The Lakers made this trade specifically to clear cap space to acquire Anthony Davis, which they officially did a few days later. Though the Wizards were a facilitator in the deal, Bonga has become a regular starter in Washington’s rotation and Wagner has also had a strong start to his 2019-20 NBA season.
No. 2 — Otto Porter’s career-high performance as a Bull (by Jake Whitacre)
Otto Porter was traded to the Chicago Bulls in February and soon made a big impact for the Bulls where he scored a career-high 37 points against the Memphis Grizzlies on Feb. 13, just a few games after he was traded for Jabari Parker and Bobby Portis. That’s a great way to make a nice first impression for Porter ... and a #SoWizards-esque type of story for us.
No. 3 — Wizards sign-and-trade Tomas Satoransky to the Bulls (by L.W.)
Tomas Satoransky is a divisive figure within the Wizards fanbase, not because of his personality, but because of what he represents. To some, he’s the face of “Everybody Eats,” the Wizards’ offensive style that featured more passing and scoring. And to others, he was just a point guard who couldn’t be aggressive enough with the ball like John Wall and others.
No. 4 — Three things we learned from the Wizards in the 2019 NBA Draft (by Albert Lee)
The 2019 NBA Draft showed some stark contrasts between Tommy Sheppard, who appeared to prefer more seasoned players from the college ranks and Ernie Grunfeld, who seemed to prefer athletes who may not have developed their skillsets just yet.
There is one thing I got wrong in this analysis. I wrote that the Wizards appeared to be ready to build around Satoransky as their starting point guard which I thought at the time. Instead, Sato is now a Bull. Still, the Wizards have built enough flexibility with the depth chart at the draft to acquire Ish Smith and Isaiah Thomas in future NBA free agency deals,
No. 5 — Rui Hachimura gets drafted ninth overall in the 2019 NBA Draft (by Albert Lee)
I’ll admit it. I didn’t expect the Gonzaga forward to be drafted by Washington. But I knew that the player Tommy Sheppard picked would play a significant direction toward his vision for the Wizards. Many reactions on Twitter weren’t particularly enthusiastic over Hachimura joining the team ahead of Cam Reddish of Duke or even Bol Bol of Oregon. But I think many people with those reactions are now content with Hachimura’s strong start in his rookie season.
Top 5 Mystics stories
Mystics coverage peaks in the summer months and our readership of the WNBA team has grown as we’ve added new voices and the team kept improving.
As you might have expected, since they won the WNBA championship, coverage peaked in October. Here are the top stories of the year on our championship basketball team. And like our Wizards stories, the biggest stories of the year aren’t necessarily the most read URLs:
No. 1 — Natasha Cloud’s engagement to Aleshia Ocasio
I was surprised to see that this story ended up being our top individual Mystics piece of the year. The main reason why was because the piece saw a bump in views in October, right after Washington won the title. At this time, people were searching more for anything about the Mystics, including Cloud.
No. 2 — Natasha Cloud putting the Capitals’ social media team on blast
The Capitals are also owned by Monumental Sports & Entertainments and their players wear the same shade of red that the Mystics do. But their Twitter account’s lack of mentioning the WNBA team struck a nerve with her. While I like her social activism and am happy to see that she won this season’s Dawn Staley Community Leadership Award, I also concur with those of you believe she should have kept her complaint within the Monumental family, even though that was admittedly a bad omission by the NHL team’s folks.
No. 3 — The Mystics not getting a championship parade in October
I was bummed that this wasn’t going to happen. But the reality of the WNBA calendar is this. Players have to report to international teams in the fall as soon as their season ends. I’m a bit sad that we couldn’t
No. 4 — Emma Meesseman and Kim Mestdagh were suspended simply because their passports were maroon with a European Union mark, not dark blue like the USA
Okay, I wrote this ... summarized title a bit longer than I would have liked. But the bottom line is that the WNBA penalizes non-Americans, especially Europeans, to represent their home countries. In that piece, I specifically mentioned that the connotation of “suspension.”
I’m not a fan of super “political correctness.” And the term suspension is appropriate in a literal sense. However, suspension in an American context means that a player did something wrong. As much “lobbying” as I do for Europeans on this site, I don’t think it’s fair to say that Meesseman and Mestdagh were at fault for being born in Ieper, Belgium instead of Washington, D.C. where they would have received American passports instead.
No. 5 — Who could the Mystics trade to get Maya Moore?
Last January, there were reports of Maya Moore being noncommittal about staying with the Minnesota Lynx. I wrote up three trade scenarios, all of which involved trading Meesseman to Minnesota.
From hindsight, Moore re-signed with the Lynx but sat out the 2019 season and the Mystics won a WNBA title. However, even from these trade scenarios, it was apparent that the only way they could get another superstar is by letting go of Meesseman, who ultimately was their “Meesse-ing” piece to a 2019 championship.