DISCLAIMER: The following prediction is based on different possible scenarios including the Washington Mystics selecting fourth in the upcoming WNBA Draft and even possibly trading up as well. Predictions include players who will/may declare for the draft and are in their senior year. Despite making the playoffs, the Mystics were able to secure the fourth overall pick in the 2023 WNBA Draft from the previous year’s draft when they traded down with the Atlanta Dream and received pick swap rights with the Los Angeles Sparks first-round pick that Atlanta already owned.
Player: Haley Jones
School: Stanford University (Cardinals)
Haley Jones is another top prospect that possibly could fall for the Washington Mystics or again they could trade up. In this instance, Washington would only have to trade up a spot or two, that is if the Mystics for sure knows Jones is who they want without a doubt. Only problem is Washington has a couple guards already and even one they drafted last year who was injured, Christyn Williams out of UConn, who could be part of the roster. Unfortunately rosters on a WNBA team remain still at 12 and depending on the veterans that are returning it limits the draftees to make the team.
However, Jones is a top talent so whomever does end up drafting her, including the Mystics, she’ll make the team.
Why Draft Jones?
Although scoring is heavily one of the main attributes that recruiters and coachers look for in a player, none of that can consistently occur without one or more facilitators on the team. The guards are depended to be the facilitators, while forwards can sometimes surprise opponents and be a hidden gem and push the ball while finding their teammates. An example of that is Myisha Hines-Allen, who can be known as a point-forward.
All in all, Jones has the ability to move the ball and create her own shot. Being able to find the open player while creating plays on the floor is something the Mystics could elevate upon. A lineup rotation that includes Natasha Cloud and Jones could spark some interest.
omg this Haley Jones bounce pass pic.twitter.com/WGx6iIsbZv— Billy Heyen (@BillyHeyen) November 20, 2022
Another great example displaying Haley Jones' court vision— Mark Schindler (@MG_Schindler) December 26, 2022
Low post doesn't get scoring traction, but draws help and Nivar slips behind the defense
Jones sees that, looks to make the skip, doesn't have the angle and drives the opposite way to keep eyes away and open the pass pic.twitter.com/7CnVcTzPqC
Jones averages 13.1 points per game, 8.3 rebounds and 3.8 assists while shooting 44.5 percent from the floor currently this season. Throughout her time at Stanford, she has increased her stats in rebounds, assists and steals. Scoring has remained the same while her shooting percentage has gone down. However, her usage and production has increased in both junior and senior years. As a sophomore, Jones helped the Cardinals win the NCAA championship in 2022 defeating the Arizona Wildcats, 54-53. She was even named the Final Four Most Outstanding Player. In her junior year, she was named a First-Team All American by the Associated Press and named to the All-Pac-12 Team as well.
This season, so far, Jones had two notable games. The first came the day after Thanksgiving when Stanford beat Florida Gulf Coast University in the Rainbow Wahine Showdown. She scored 24 points and grabbed 14 rebounds off 12-of-18 shooting. The second game was this month against Arizona where she notched a double-double with 18 points and 16 rebounds. Defensively, Jones added three steals and one block in that game also.
Mystics Needs at the Position
As stated previously, Jones brings scoring, rebounding and a facilitating mindset to her team and to any team that will draft her in the upcoming WNBA Draft. Washington has that in Cloud who averaged a career-high in assists in the 2022 season with seven as well as points per game with 10.7. Adding Jones could help compliment Cloud or even help keep the same momentum off the bench.
The ,Mystics need that bench mob presence to remain intact and based on the roster for the Mystics this upcoming season having only Cloud and Ariel Atkins isn’t enough. Jones can also get to the rim for Washington leading to more attempts at the free throw line. The last time Washington had two true play-making guards they won a championship in 2019 with both Cloud and Kristi Toliver. Why not bring that atmosphere back with Jones?