The Washington Mystics’ 2019 season begins on Saturday May 25 on the road in Connecticut. Their home opener is on June 1 versus the Atlanta Dream. Washington looks to repeat last season, but with a different outcome....WIN THE WHOLE THING. The team’s slogan “Run It Back!” is deeply rooted in their minds. It’s simply a Mystics Mentality.
Regular Season Record:
Greydy Diaz: 23-11
Albert Lee: 20-14
Diamond Holton: 22-12
Greydy: 3rd Place
Albert: 4th place in the WNBA. I predict Vegas will get the best regular season record.
Diamond: I’m going to say 4th place or better. If they want to run it back, placement is necessary to earn a first-round bye in the playoffs.
Will the Mystics make the WNBA Playoffs?
Greydy: There’s no doubt in my mind that the Mystics have all of the pieces to make it to the playoffs. They’re ready to run it back. Getting swept in last year’s finals didn’t sit well and will make them go harder this season.
Albert: The Mystics will make the playoffs, no doubt.
Diamond: Not only will the Mystics make the playoffs but.... (please see next category)
Will the Mystics make the WNBA Finals again?
Greydy: If everyone stays healthy, especially Elena Delle Donne, there’s no reason why the Mystics shouldn’t make their way back to the finals. This season, health is the only thing I foresee holding them back from wins during the season, playoffs, and of course, the finals.
Albert: I give them a 50 percent shot to return.
Diamond: ...they’re going to the WNBA Finals and WIN THE WHOLE THING! Besides not being 100 percent healthy last season, I think they’ll be able to piece everyone and everything together for a dominant effort.
Who will be the Mystics’ top scorer?
Greydy: Elena Delle Donne averaged 20.7 points per game last season and I don’t see that slowing down as long as she’s on the court.
Albert: Delle Donne. She hasn’t shown any sign of declining yet and this team is not wavering on her as the franchise player anytime soon.
Diamond: Delle Donne will be the top-leading scorer for the team and average more than last season as well.
Who will be Washington’s breakout player?
Greydy: This year can very well be Shatori Walker-Kimbrough’s breakout year. She showed a glimpse of how good she is in the Mystics’ preseason game against Atlanta. She scored 18 points and went 7-9 from the field. She looking confident and ready and proved that she deserved the 31 minutes that she saw the floor that game.
Albert: Breakout is a relative term. But I’m going to be a contrarian and say Kim Mestdagh will be that player. Mestdagh is in her prime like EDD is and a sharpshooter. She’ll fit in quite well with the Mystics’ roster and they can camouflage her on defense if she is not up to speed on that end of the floor.
Diamond: In the past few seasons, I’ve been waiting for this player to take over because she has the definite potential to do so. It’s Shatori Walker-Kimbrough. After seeing her score 18 points and shoot 100 percent from three-point in the Mystics’ final preseason game win, I think she can do it. A few early injuries have sufficed, which could possibly lead to more minutes for SWK.
Which players will be in the Mystics’ starting lineup?
Greydy: Delle Donne, Ariel Atkins, Natasha Cloud, Kristi Toliver, LaToya Sanders
Albert: Women’s EuroBasket is going to be a major turning point in the season. The Mystics are going to start with:
- G - Toliver, Cloud, Atkins
- F - EDD, Sanders
There’s no reason to change it, even though I stand by my statement that Emma Meesseman is now at EDD’s level. That’s worth another rant at another time.
Now, once EuroBasket is finished, it could make sense to move Meesseman into the starting lineup if Washington gets into a slump. I’m not convinced that the Mystics will have a quasi-”Everybody Eats” moment when she’s out like the last year and a half. After all, Meesseman is more or less an anti-John Wall in her style of play. But for the sake of it, I could see the lineup turning into this at some point.
- G - Cloud, Atkins
- F - EDD, Meesseman, Sanders
I can see Toliver move to the bench to bolster the second unit to be honest.
Diamond: I’m going with the same starting lineup as last season: Toliver, Cloud, Atkins, EDD and Sanders. This was a solid starting five for Washington and see no reason in changing it considering injuries and overseas commitments.
Who will become the leader off the bench?
Greydy: Emma Meesseman unless we see her in the starting lineup.
Albert: No one in particular.
Diamond: Emma Meesseman will probably end up sliding back into the starting lineup mid-way through the season, but she’ll definitely be the spark early on off the bench. General Manager and Head Coach Mike Thibault mentioned Meesseman will come off the bench to start the season, but there’s no certainty that she the rest of the season.