The WNBA released its 2017 regular season schedule on Tuesday. The Mystics' schedule is below:
|Sunday, May 14, 2017||San Antonio Stars||3:00 PM|
|Friday, May 19, 2017||at Los Angeles Sparks||10:30 PM|
|Sunday, May 21, 2017||at Seattle Storm||7:00 PM|
|Wednesday, May 24, 2017||at Chicago Sky||12:30 PM|
|Friday, May 26, 2017||Chicago Sky||7:00 PM|
|Wednesday, May 31, 2017||Connecticut Sun||11:30 AM|
|Sunday, June 4, 2017||Atlanta Dream||3:00 PM|
|Tuesday, June 6, 2017||at Dallas Wings||8:00 PM|
|Friday, June 9, 2017||Minnesota Lynx||7:00 PM|
|Sunday, June 11, 2017||Indiana Fever||3:00 PM|
|Sunday, June 18, 2017||Dallas Wings||3:00 PM|
|Friday, June 23, 2017||at Minnesota Lynx||8:00 PM|
|Sunday, June 25, 2017||at Chicago Sky||6:00 PM|
|Tuesday, June 27, 2017||Seattle Storm||12:00 PM|
|Thursday, June 29, 2017||New York Liberty||7:00 PM|
|Sunday, July 2, 2017||at Los Angeles Sparks||5:00 PM|
|Wednesday, July 5, 2017||at Phoenix Mercury||10:00 PM|
|Saturday, July 8, 2017||at Connecticut Sun||2:00 PM|
|Friday, July 14, 2017||at Indiana Fever||7:00 PM|
|Sunday, July 16, 2017||at New York Liberty||3:00 PM|
|Wednesday, July 19, 2017||Atlanta Dream||11:30 AM|
|Tuesday, July 25, 2017||at San Antonio Stars||12:30 PM|
|Friday, July 28, 2017||Connecticut Sun||7:00 PM|
|Sunday, July 30, 2017||at Atlanta Dream||3:00 PM|
|Friday, August 4, 2017||at San Antonio Stars||8:00 PM|
|Sunday, August 6, 2017||Phoenix Mercury||3:00 PM|
|Saturday, August 12, 2017||Indiana Fever||7:00 PM|
|Wednesday, August 16, 2017||Los Angeles Sparks||7:00 PM|
|Friday, August 18, 2017||Phoenix Mercury||7:00 PM|
|Sunday, August 20, 2017||at Indiana Fever||5:00 PM|
|Friday, August 25, 2017||at New York Liberty||7:30 PM|
|Saturday, August 26, 2017||Dallas Wings||7:00 PM|
|Friday, September 1, 2017||Seattle Storm||7:00 PM|
|Sunday, September 3, 2017||at Minnesota Lynx||7:00 PM|
Here are some quick thoughts now that it's out there:
- No games on ESPN or ESPN2 for the second straight year - You know the storyline at this point. The Mystics don't have a player who catches mainstream WNBA fans' eyes so that explains why Washington isn't on national television. Bucks head coach Jason Kidd recently blamed the NBA for not promoting Giannis Antetokounmpo enough because his last name isn't easy to pronounce. Mystics head coach Mike Thibault could do the same about Emma Meesseman because her game isn't friendly to your average American fan and narrative for that matter.
- Speaking about Meesseman, we now know the number of games she will miss because of EuroBasket (and perhaps more) - EuroBasket Women 2017 is from June 16-27. The Mystics play four games in that timeframe. They also play the New York Liberty on June 29. If Meesseman and the Belgian National Team advance to the EuroBasket finals, she'll miss a minimum of five games including the Liberty game. If Meesseman stays in Belgium to train with the national team until EuroBasket is over, she will miss all 10 regular season games before EuroBasket, plus up to five more games because of the tournament itself AND the New York Liberty game.
- The Mystics' pre-EuroBasket schedule is still tough - If you're the Mystics, you certainly hope Meesseman will play in May and June for Washington nevertheless. Washington will play the WNBA champion Sparks, WNBA Finalist Lynx, the Tina Charles-led Liberty, the Angel McCoughtry-led Dream, the Sue Bird-led Storm AND Elena Delle Donne-led Sky twice in those first ten games. I get that all of these teams wouldn't necessarily be favored if Washington was at full strength. But if Meesseman misses all of the Mystics' games until July, they'll be lucky if they're .500. However, I can also see them last in the standings. Furthermore, the Mystics have a three-game road trip after the opener, so they're going to have to start next season strong if they are a playoff bound team.
- LaToya Sanders will benefit from Meesseman's absence - Let's not get into doom and gloom mode for the Mystics just yet. We're still half a year away from the start of next season. Sanders was the second leading scorer in the 2016 Olympics for Turkey. She will not be in EuroBasket because she retired from international play. With that in mind and with the roster right now, expect her to be a beneficiary from Meesseman's absence. She'll have to step up big time to hold the fort if Meesseman misses the first half of the season.
- Stefanie Dolson should also benefit from Meesseman's absence - In 2015, Dolson was an All-Star and led the team in scoring at the All-Star Break. She also did so by having a usage rate higher than Meesseman. Last season, Dolson had a lower usage rate and lower numbers while Meesseman's increased. With the Belgian missing some time, Dolson should have an opportunity to get back on track. But she'll have to find a way to stay that way once Meesseman returns.
All of these points are subject to change if the Mystics trade players of course. Right now, the schedule is what it is, and I don't see the Mystics doing that much better in the standings than they did in 2016. That said, it's probably not a bad thing for the long run.