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The Mystics are winning as a team but still struggle to get more All-Stars

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Despite being one of the WNBA’s top teams, the Mystics only have one starter and one reserve on the All-Star team.

Las Vegas Aces v Washington Mystics
The Mystics are now one of the best teams. But they still don’t have the love other teams do.
Photo by Ned Dishman/NBAE via Getty Images

The Mystics have one WNBA All-Star starter in Elena Delle Donne and one reserve in Kristi Toliver. They also have one of the All-Star Game head coaches with Mike Thibault.

In most years, this would be a great thing for Washington. However, the Mystics are 9-6, third place in the WNBA standings. They were also the top team overall just a week ago.

Why are the Mystics lagging behind?

With starters, it’s past history. The Mystics don’t have any top overall draft picks on the roster. But with reserves, the Mystics have a well-balanced team to a fault, the fault meaning player popularity.

Ariel Atkins and Natasha Cloud are among the Mystics’ starters and are major contributors for their success. However, they aren’t statistical stalwarts like some players on other teams. For example, the Chicago Sky have three reserves in Diamond DeShields, Courtney Vandersloot and Allie Quigley — one more than the Mystics do overall as ateam.

Another minor reason is because they played without Emma Meesseman for much of June. Meesseman, a 2015 All-Star Game reserve, missed that month to play for Belgium in Women’s EuroBasket. If she were playing in the WNBA all season, there’s a good chance that she would have received more All-Star votes from Europeans or at least earned an All-Star spot as a reserve.

But for now, the Mystics aren’t concerned about the number of players they will have for the All-Star Game. They are more concerned about how and whether they will win a WNBA championship this year.