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WNBA standings update: Mystics locked into 5th seed vs. Storm, will get a 2023 lottery draft pick from the Sparks

The second round matchup looks favorable for Washington because the Las Vegas Aces have won the tiebreaker against the Chicago Sky and are tied for first!

Los Angeles Sparks v Washington Mystics
Ariel Atkins and the Mystics have a tough first round matchup ahead.
Photo by Stephen Gosling/NBAE via Getty Images

The Washington Mystics won last night against the Indiana Fever, which was totally expected. Anything less than a double digit victory would have been a disappointment. And now, there is some clarity about where the Mystics will play in the postseason as well as their 2023 draft implications from their trade with the Atlanta Dream.

The bad news: The Mystics are the No. 5 seed against the Storm

WASHINGTON, D.C. - July 31: Washington Mystics guard Natasha Cl Terrance Williams for The Washington Post via Getty Images

The Mystics are 21-14, but the Seattle Storm also won last night against the Minnesota Lynx to clinch a 21-14 record — and get the No. 4 seed in the playoffs. That loss against the Los Angeles Sparks last Sunday proved to be the difference maker. So on Sunday, the Mystics’ game against the Fever and the Storm’s against the Aces will mean nothing.

If you had to ask me who wins the series, my heart tells me the Mystics will win in three games. I love the Mystics’ lockdown defense, and Elena Delle Donne, Ariel Atkins or Myisha Hines-Allen can get hot any time. This team has played better basketball since the All-Star Break and I can see them go far with the right matchup.

But my head tells me the Storm will sweep it, so Sunday’s our last game at ESA. Why? Both games are in Seattle. The Mystics haven’t beaten the Storm there this season.

Given the narrative of Storm franchise player Sue Bird playing her last season (her career has been FANtastic and I am an objective Sue fan in almost any other circumstance), it would be a storybook ending for her career, and one that most WNBA fans can appreciate. And I will root for the Storm to beat the Chicago Sky like hell in a playoff series!

But it really sucks that the Mystics have to be the team that won’t get homecourt advantage this season. And I think the clock is going to strike midnight next week for them. Sorry.

Here is the schedule for the playoff games:

  • Game 1: Thursday, Aug. 18, at 10 p.m. ET in Seattle on ESPN2
  • Game 2: Sunday, Aug. 21 at 4 p.m. ET in Seattle on ESPN
  • Game 3: Wednesday, Aug. 24 in Washington, if necessary

The Good News: The Aces have the inside track to the No. 1 seed

Chicago Sky v Las Vegas Aces Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images

Though I think the Mystics will be swept in the playoffs, take my prediction with a grain of salt. Like Rocky Balboa said, “It ain’t over ‘til it’s over.”

If Washington somehow wins their first round series, they could very well play the ..... LAS VEGAS ACES IN THE SECOND ROUND! They beat the defending league Champion CHICAGO SKY on Thursday, 89-78 to earn the tiebreaker! THANK YOU KESLEY PLUM AND JACKIE YOUNG FOR BALLING OUT AND KEEPING CHICAGO’S STARTING GUARDS IN CHECK!

The Aces play the Storm on Sunday at 3 p.m. ET in a must-win game for the No. 1 seed! GO ACES! AND BECKY HAMMON FOR COACH OF THE YEAR RUNNER UP! (Because Mike Thibault deserves it every year!)

The Sky play the Phoenix Mercury at 5 p.m. ET on Sunday. If the Aces lose, the Sky will have to win this game to clinch the No. 1. That may be an easier task now given that Skylar Diggins-Smith is suspended for the season and had a poor relationship with head coach Vanessa Nygaard. Diana Taurasi is out for the season too due to injury. Let’s just say that this game is likely Chicago’s to lose.


More Good News: The LA Sparks are lottery bound ... and the Mystics have their 2023 first round draft pick!

Connecticut Sun v Los Angeles Sparks Photo by Juan Ocampo/NBAE via Getty Images

The Sparks lost to the Connecticut Sun on the road, 93-69 on Thursday. While that game didn’t get them into the lottery, Friday’s games did. Washington has the rights to swap 2023 first round draft picks with the Atlanta Dream, who outright acquired the Sparks’ 2023 first round pick. This swap opportunity came about after they traded the No. 1 overall pick in the 2022 Draft to Atlanta for the No. 3 pick that they used to select Shakira Austin with.

Since the Mystics’ 2023 first-round pick would be 7th overall, now they’ll have a Top-4 pick next year to further bolster the roster!

The Sparks host the Dallas Wings on Sunday for their final game at 7 p.m. ET.

Overall, things are looking good for the Mystics, especially with the Sparks. But they have a brutal first round match and a fairy tale narrative to go against. I don’t think they’ll pull it off, but it would be neat to see them play the role of postseason villains this season.