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2022 WNBA Draft Lottery: The Mystics hope to kick off their offseason with a high pick

After missing the WNBA playoffs in 2021, the Washington Mystics will have a chance to get the top pick in next year’s draft.

Minnesota Lynx v Washington Mystics
Natasha Cloud is the Washington Mystics’ longest tenured player and was a second round pick in the 2015 WNBA Draft.
Photo by Stephen Gosling/NBAE via Getty Images

UPDATE: Natasha Cloud was the Mystics’ representative in the Draft due to Chamique Holdsclaw being a late scratch. The original article is below.

The 2021 WNBA season didn’t go well for the Washington Mystics. They were 12-20 and missed the playoffs for the first time since 2016 due to a combination of player injuries (Elena Delle Donne and Alysha Clark) and key player departures (Aerial Powers and Emma Meesseman). Ultimately, the combination of these moves accelerated Washington’s decline since their championship season in 2019.

After the poor season, it’s time for the Mystics to get a chance to get their offseason started on the right note with a high draft pick. At 3 p.m. later today, the Mystics, along with the Indiana Fever, Atlanta Dream and Dallas Wings (via the Los Angeles Sparks) will know the results of the Draft Lottery.

Based on Washington’s record in the 2020 and 2021 seasons along with those from the other three teams, the Mystics have the third-best odds of getting the No. 1 pick in the Draft at 17.8 percent. The Fever have the best odds at 44.2 percent, the Dream at 27.6 percent and the Wings are at 10.4 percent, based on the Sparks’ record.

The Mystics will be represented by their first franchise player, Chamique Holdsclaw, the No. 1 pick in the 1999 WNBA Draft. Holdsclaw played for Washington from 1999-2004 where she led them to their first playoff berth and first-ever appearance into the league’s semifinals (Eastern Conference Finals) in 2002.

Washington hasn’t had much luck with the draft lottery. They have missed out of some of the WNBA’s best-ever players when they were in the lottery and had a very good chance of pick No. 1. Just imagine if one of these players were picked No. 1 overall by Washington in these years:

  • 2002: Sue Bird (Washington ended up with the No. 2 and No. 4 picks where they selected Stacey Dales and Tamika Williams, who had mediocre playing careers.)
  • 2004: Diana Taurasi (Washington ended up with the No. 2 pick and selected Alana Beard. She was a multi-time All-Star in D.C. but never was as dominant as Taurasi.)
  • 2009: Angel McCoughtry (Washington ended up with the No. 2 pick and selected Marissa Coleman, who had a disappointing three-year run in D.C. though her career improved after she went to other teams)
  • 2013: Brittney Griner (Washington ended up with the No. 4 pick and selected Tayler Hill who had a mediocre career while in a Mystics uniform. If they had the No. 2 or No. 3 picks, they could have selected Skylar Diggins or Delle Donne outright as a rookie.)

In short, franchise history could have been altered for the better much sooner.

That said, the Mystics’ draft lottery luck played in their favor last time. They received the No. 2 pick in the 2017 WNBA Draft Lottery despite having the fourth-best odds of getting the No. 1 pick. They then used that pick in a trade to get Delle Donne.

Finally, in closing, it’s important to note that picking any player is never a guarantee that she will pan out. Sometimes, later first round picks or second round picks carve out great careers themselves. Starting point guard Natasha Cloud is an example of that where she was drafted No. 15 overall in 2015. She isn’t just a multi-year starter on a recent championship team. Cloud is also the Mystics’ longest-tenured player.

Here’s hoping that the Mystics get a better-than-expected pick in this year’s draft!