The Mystics are one of the WNBA’s best teams heading into the 2019 season. After all, they made the 2018 Finals. With Storm forward Breanna Stewart rupturing her Achilles tendon last Sunday in the EuroLeague Women championship game, does that make the Mystics championship favorites now that the reigning champs lost their best player?
According to Las Vegas bookies, hell yeah!
According to Jeff Sherman of SuperBookUSA.com, the Mystics have 5:2 odds of winning their first championship this year.
2019 WNBA Championship winner updated after Breanna Stewart injury— Jeff Sherman (@golfodds) April 17, 2019
Though the Mystics are favorites to win the championship, the Sun, Sparks and Mercury are tied for second place with 5:1 odds. And furthermore, the Mystics still have some key questions to answer.
If you had to ask me, I believe that the Mercury and Sparks have a better shot of winning the championship than the Mystics. At the end of the day, I don’t think Washington has enough top-level talent to be a favorite. And I’m skeptical on how good the chemistry will be between Elena Delle Donne and Emma Meesseman, who never really got it going in 2017. I think we’ll see more of the same this season with Women’s EuroBasket.
This sounds like doom and gloom, so let me add this. I also think that the Mystics have a better chance of winning the championship than before Stewart’s injury. That’s because the gap between the Mercury/Sparks and the Mystics is smaller than the Storm and the Mystics if Stewart were healthy. Washington isn’t built to be a superstar-laden team like the Lynx of the 2010’s.
If the Mystics win a championship, they will be more like the 2012 Fever, who had one true superstar in Tamika Catchings, another strong All-Star in Katie Douglas and a core group of role players who played strong defense and made shots when it mattered.
At any rate, the 2019 WNBA season, like the 2018 season will be a very competitive one for teams at the top of the standings. Last year, five teams won 20 or more regular season games.
This year, you can expect the Mystics to win 20 regular season games — and at least three more teams doing the same. And from there, the Mystics will have their best chance of winning the title. It’s just that they aren’t my first pick — as an objective observer — to win it.