Last week, we put out a poll asking whether you feel that the Washington Mystics’ next franchise player is already on the current roster.
One hundred fifteen people responded, and the result was divided, but decisive. The majority (57 percent) do not believe that the Mystics’ next franchise player is on the roster.
I agree with the majority. And here is why.
In general, a franchise player is surefire No. 1 overall draft pick. There are some drafts where franchise players are to be had after No. 1, like 2013 when Delle Donne was drafted No. 2 overall by the Chicago Sky. But it’s nearly impossible to find a surefire superstar in the middle of the first round or the second.
And with the exception of the Mystics’ championship season in 2019 and the Sky’s championship season in 2021, most teams’ franchise players were drafted by those teams.
And … there is no one on the Mystics’ roster who is a No. 1 overall pick. Since we’re saying that Washington’s next franchise player isn’t on the roster, my conclusion is this: it’s time to rebuild. And that means I’m open to seeing Delle Donne and Natasha Cloud, both of whom are free agents, go to other teams in 2024.
The WNBA’s current era is revolving around two superteams and league expansion is on the horizon. It’s in Washington’s best long term interest to reshuffle their roster since what they’ve been doing isn’t working.
Unlike the Wizards’ rebuild, where they are going to have to start from the bottom, The Mystics have some players who they can hold on for the long term. They start with Shakira Austin, who had a really strong rookie season for Washington where she also had a chance to play for the World Cup with Team USA in 2022. Also, Ariel Atkins and Brittney Sykes may form two very strong defensive-minded guards for years to come.
While they form a solid core, Washington still needs some sure fire offensive power, from some position, and none of those players are in that “Batman” role. There’s one side of me that prefers to see Washington build through the draft. But in this current era of the league, perhaps it’s possible that Washington could become a legitimate contender again by signing a marquee free agent who replaces Delle Donne’s production, though not necessarily her position.
Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.