To begin Washington Mystics Media Day, we had the only returning starter, Ariel Atkins start us off. And yes you read that correctly...she’s the only returning starter. Kristi Toliver signed with the Los Angeles Sparks in the off-season. Natasha Cloud and LaToya Sanders opted out of the 2020 season, while Elena Delle Donne was denied medical exemption but most likely will not play either.
Yup Ariel it’s just you. But on the bright side it’s given her time to reflect on her game as well as shining light on playing with veterans Leilani Mitchell and Shey Peddy. First Atkins spoke on Mitchell calling her a “laser sniper” and how fun it’s been for her.
“Anytime you have a point guard that’s scoring at different levels, they have to respect that,” she said. “They have to respect her shot, so with her ability to also get to the rim and able to make those passes as she’s driving it’s fun to have her on our team now.”
Working with Peddy isn’t anything that’s not normal for Atkins. They’ve been teammates and even Peddy assisted as a coach last season as well. Now things are a little different as Peddy will be most definitely getting more minutes at the guard position. Atkins goes on to speak on her fellow teammate making it known that Peddy is a fast point guard, knows how to get to the rack and shoot the ball as well. All in all she likes having them.
“They’re both vets in the sense that they been playing the game for a while,” Atkins said. “They understand kind of what’s been going on and they’re very helpful in helping me get vocal on helping me see different things on the floor.”
Going back to Atkins being the only returning starter, it’s predicted her usage could most definitely go up. This will in turn show us more of her playing style going into the season and Atkins says it’ll force her to be better.
“That’s kind of my thought process behind all of this, being the only returning starter. It’s definitely going to force me to grow as a player and as a leader,” she said. And I’m excited about it, excited about the challenge because that means my game will grow. I’ll be able to get better and become a better player and person throughout all of this.”