The Mystics begin their 2019 season tonight on the road against the Connecticut Sun. So with that, here are some questions you might have been thinking based on league press releases, our roundtable, SB Nation’s primer or Swish Appeal’s preview of the season as a whole.
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So here are the main questions
Can Elena Delle Donne and Emma Meesseman become a dynamic duo?
Before Delle Donne came to Washington in 2017, there was promise that the two would be an unguardable low post duo that would stretch defenses night after night. Unfortunately, that proved to be fake news.
The door isn’t necessarily shut on the two finding a way to coexist on the floor and becoming the finesse and perimeter oriented version of the Candace Parker and Nneka Ogwumike duo for the Los Angeles Sparks. But if Meesseman is missing so much time because of the Belgian national team for EuroBasket or other tournaments, that’s going to put a damper on things.
I’m going to be frank about this: I don’t think Delle Donne and Meesseman will be a dynamic duo this year. And as long as international scheduling remains the way it is, I don’t think they ever will be. Both Delle Donne and Meesseman play the same position and have redundant skillsets. However, Meesseman’s international absences and Delle Donne’s proneness to injury will put a damper on things.
To be fair to Delle Donne and Meeseman, if they had 82 games to figure it out over the course of one year with no international interruptions like the NBA, I think they can. But in the WNBA, near-instant chemistry is a coveted skill over long term chemistry, even if the latter proves to be better in the long run. Unfortunately, these two just haven’t shown instant chemistry.
Can Kristi Toliver and Natasha Cloud maintain their efficiency in 2019?
There’s a lot of talk around the Mystics’ frontcourt and for good reason. However, the backcourt is equally as important.
Toliver and Cloud played well together last year, showing more of that instant chemistry which Delle Donne and Meesseman lacked in 2017. However, Toliver is known for being streaky while Cloud shot well under 40 percent in all of her WNBA seasons until 2018.
If the Mystics are going to win a championship, the Delle Donne and Meesseman frontcourt duo will play better than what we saw in 2017. But the starting guards will also continue to play at a level similar to their 2018 numbers.
How will crowds be at the new arena?
The Mystics are finally moving to the Entertainment and Sports Arena at Congress Heights this summer. The arena is smaller than the Capital One Arena and it will be interesting to see if the crowds will fill to capacity each and every night.
The Mystics aren’t moving out of Washington, D.C. proper, but Congress Heights is not in the center of town so this is an effective relocation of the team. If Washington continues to play at a 20-win pace, they should be in good shape with the crowds. But if not, then crowds won’t look so good.