DISCLAIMER: The following prediction is based on different possible scenarios including the Washington Mystics selecting fourth in the upcoming WNBA Draft and even possibly trading up as well. Predictions include players who will/may declare for the draft and are in their senior year. Despite making the playoffs, the Mystics were able to secure the fourth overall pick in the 2023 WNBA Draft from the previous year’s draft when they traded down with the Atlanta Dream and received pick swap rights with the Los Angeles Sparks first-round pick that Atlanta already owned.
Player: Aliyah Boston
School: University of South Carolina (Gamecocks)
We know this is a stretch, as in order for the Washington Mystics to even attempt to draft Aliyah Boston it would cost them everything to draft up to the first overall pick. It’s highly doubtful that she would just fall to the Mystics at the fourth pick. That’s just being realistic. However, the first scenario isn’t unlikely, but high percentage that Indiana Fever won’t go for it. Other than it’s Aliyah Boston, arguably the best player in women’s college basketball, the Fever have another reason to hold onto that first overall pick.
Indiana drafted former South Carolina point guard, Destanni Henderson, in last year’s draft who has played with Boston. Why not reunite them? All things Washington will have to consider.
Now the Mystics could give up a lot for Boston such as numerous players and future draft picks, but that literally would mean blowing up an entire team that’s only missing a few critical pieces to get back in winning form and showing a lack of faith in Shakira Austin who they drafted third overall in the 2022 WNBA Draft.
Why Draft Boston?
If any of those scenarios were to occur, why would the Mystics risk it all for Boston? Well she’s one of the best and who wouldn’t want the best on their team? Boston has exemplified and shown a well-rounded balance offensively and defensively. Her willingness to adapt and still play her game is not a trait every player can possess.
Boston’s averages this season with South Carolina are 11.5 points and 9.3 rebounds including 1.8 blocks. Now those numbers are significantly lower than the previous season, but that’s only because opponents have decided on a game plan of putting two and three defenders on her at a time forcing her to pass out or get to the line more often. Even though that’s the case, the fact she’s still able to come close to averaging a double-double still speaks what she is capable of doing.
In 2022, Boston helped lead the Gamecocks to a NCAA championship last year, while also grabbing accolades such as the Lisa Leslie Award three years in a row, Naismith Defensive Player of the Year, Naismith and Associated Press Player of the Year, NCAA Tournament Most Outstanding Player and even SEC Female Athlete of the Year. Boston even notched career-high averages in that winning season with 16.8 points per game and 12.5 rebounds.
An Aliyah Boston appreciation post JUST BECAUSE on this Wednesday pic.twitter.com/1RT3XxFmUc— WSLAM (@wslam) July 20, 2022
She’s had many great games in her career, but in focusing on the current season at hand her best game to date would be against UCLA on November 29 where she had 18 points and 10 rebounds followed by four blocks on defense. Boston even broke South Carolina’s rebound record with 600 that was once held by former center and former Mystic Alaina Coates who had 599.
Mystics Needs at the Position
Taking a look at the who the Mystics have at the forward/center position based on the roster from 2022 and barring any changes for the upcoming season there is some depth and some uncertainty. Washington currently has: Shakira Austin, Alysha Clark, Elena Delle Donne, Tianna Hawkins, Myisha Hines-Allen and Elizabeth Williams.
The uncertainty comes with the injuries that plague some more than others as well as will they all return. When it comes to injuries, all eyes will be on Elena Delle Donne as she’s been a big piece of the Mystics and also an absent piece lately as well. That is due to her back injury that has been ongoing since 2019. In the last two seasons, she has only played 28 games of a possible 68. What will happen this upcoming season?
The presence of Boston could make up for where Washington lacks ideally, but again it would cost the Mystics everything. She’s definitely worth it.