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2015 Mystics Player Evaluations, Part 1: Grading the backcourt

With the Mystics' season now complete, let's grade how each of their guards did this past summer.

Stewart W. Small

With the Mystics' 2015 season now complete, let's do some individual player evaluations. First, let's take a look at each of their backcourt players. Each evaluation will come with a grade, a slightly more detailed blurb about her 2015 season, and if applicable, something she should work on for 2016.

Natasha Cloud - A-

Stats - 3.6 ppg, 3.5 apg

Summary - Cloud emerged as a solid starting guard after beginning the season as a bench player. She ultimately had the most assists of all rookies with 115 for the year.

Next season, I'd like to see Cloud become a more assertive scorer since she only averaged 6.7 points per 36 minutes played this past season. I didn't know what to expect out of her before the season began, but she certainly has made a positive impact on the team right away.

Bria Hartley - C

Stats - 4.2 ppg, 1.6 apg

Summary - Hartley certainly did not have a good sophomore season after a strong rookie campaign where she made the All-Rookie team. Though she began the team as a starter in the preseason, a right foot stress fracture prevented Hartley from being at full strength until the end of the regular season.

By then, Cloud already had a starting guard position locked up and the other went to either Kara Lawson or Ivory Latta. Furthermore, Tayler Hill was already playing well off the bench so there just weren't many minutes available for Hartley when the playoffs were about to begin.

Despite her diminished production and shooting percentage, there are some areas of promise. Hartley's turnover percentage dropped considerably from 19.9 to 14.2 percent this season, while her assist percentage went up from 20.6 to 23.9 percent. Given that she is a rather turnover prone player, this is a sign that Hartley can still be a viable option at the point guard position for 2016 and beyond.

Next season, I'd like to see Hartley reclaim her starting guard position, but with many other decent options still on the roster, I don't know how it's going to happen unless multiple players are moved.

Armintie Herrington - C-

Stats - 1.7 ppg, 1.8 rpg

Summary - Herrington saw limited action in the 2015 season due to knee and back injuries. Most of her value to the team was done as a veteran mentor to the team's younger players given her past experience as a defensive perimeter force. Herrington has retired from the WNBA earlier this month so it should free up some more minutes for some of the other guards on this list going forward.

Tayler Hill - B

Stats - 7.5 ppg, 1.3 rpg, 0.9 spg

Summary - After a disappointing rookie season in 2013 and a forgetful stint last season, some wondered whether Hill would ever pan out as a WNBA player, let alone as a player worthy of the fourth pick in the 2013 WNBA Draft.

Fortunately, Hill answered the bell to skeptics with the minutes she was able to play. In 2015, Hill enjoyed career highs in points and steals. She also increased her per-36 minute scoring average to 15.9 points a game. That figure is second on the Mystics' roster.

Next season, Hill should have an easier path toward becoming a starter. I'm also more confident that she will be a regular starter at some point. But I'm doubtful that it actually happens in 2016 unless Latta and Lawson are injured or not on the team.

Ivory Latta - B-

Stats - 13.4 ppg, 2.5 apg

Summary - Latta led the Mystics in scoring in each of the three seasons of Mike Thibault's tenure. She also led the WNBA in three-point shots made for the second consecutive season.

Even though she is able to score in bunches, Latta also had some cold stretches during the season, especially in the first half. Next season, Latta needs to work more on consistency each game.

Kara Lawson - B

Stats - 9.6 ppg, 3.6 apg, 2.5 rpg

Summary - Lawson played in 22 games during the 2015 season and started all but one of them. She was also the team's most efficient ball handler (79 assists to 25 turnovers).

I'm not sure how much longer Lawson will be in the league since she battled through back injuries and isn't getting any better at this point in her long career. However, any team can use a veteran guard who is able to produce consistently like she can.

Tomorrow, we will grade the Mystics' frontcourt players.