The 2018 WNBA Draft is less than a week away. Though the Mystics don’t have a lottery pick (they are a WNBA semifinalist after all), the 2018 class is deep with many guards.
On Thursday, the Mystics posted GM/Head Coach Mike Thibault’s thoughts on the 2018 class and which direction he is leaning toward with the seventh overall pick. He was clear what position he wants to draft. From the release:
[The Mystics want a] wing player. When asked what [Mike Thibault] was going after in this year’s draft, Coach T addressed that “we are deep in the post” and that “the strength of this draft is guards and wing players.” He went on to say that we will specifically be looking for a wing player, “something we have been trying to address for the long-term.” Aside from that, there were no names dropped, no hints, no nothing, as to who he would specifically be picking. We don’t want anyone moving in on our prospects.
Aren’t the Mystics strong at the wing position?
If Thibault defines wing as the small forward and shooting guard positions, it isn’t as strong as the post. After all, Elena Delle Donne, Krystal Thomas, Tianna Hawkins, and LaToya Sanders make up a deep rotation at the power forward and center positions alone.
At the small forward position specifically, Tierra Ruffin-Pratt and Natasha Cloud have shown the ability to play there. However, TRP is a bit short at the small forward position and isn’t the strongest three point shooter. Cloud is also not strong as a three point shooter and better used at the point guard position, though she has the height.
Monique Currie is a good stop-gap at the small forward position for now, though it remains to be seen whether she starts or comes off the bench. But she is closer to the end of her career at this point, and now is a good time to look for depth at that position.
Who are the players the Mystics potentially looking at?
Mock drafts are pointing at two players, at least one of whom could be available when Washington picks. I added a third player just because:
- Victoria Vivians, G, Mississippi State - Before UConn post Azura Stevens declared for the Draft, Vivians seemed to be a near unanimous projected pick by the Mystics in many mock drafts. She is still in the mix, thanks to her efficient three point shooting. It doesn’t hurt that Coach Thibault’s daughter, Carly Thibault-DuDonis is an assistant for Mississippi State as well.
- Gabby Williams, F, Connecticut - Williams is one of the most athletic prospects in the draft. She averaged 11.2 points and 7.4 rebounds last season and is a tenacious defender. In fact, she was the 2017 WBCA National Defensive Player of the Year and lost to Nurse. If she can develop a three point shot (she has none), Williams will be a very great player. Until then, she’s essentially a young TRP.
- Kia Nurse, G, Connecticut - Williams is one of the best defensive players, and so is Nurse, who is this year’s WBCA National Defensive Player of the Year. Nurse has a strong three point shot and is a seasoned player on the international stage for Team Canada. If Nurse was American, she may be a spot or two higher in the draft. But in light of Emma Meesseman’s absence, Thibault’s going to have to think hard. Does he want to miss two major players due to international commitments? That said, I think she’s a good fit in Washington.