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WNBA Draft 2023: The Mystics trade their first round pick away for a chance at more depth in 2025

Let’s be honest. Stephanie Soares wasn’t going to work out with Shakira Austin anyway.

Dallas Wings v Washington Mystics
Mike Thibault explained why he made a trade in the first round yesterday.
Photo by Stephen Gosling/NBAE via Getty Images

The Washington Mystics drafted Iowa State center Stephanie Soares No. 4 overall, only to trade her to the Dallas Wings for a 2024 second round pick and a 2025 first round pick. The first round pick isn’t based on Dallas’ position. It’s based on the Atlanta Dream’s and that pick was traded to Dallas in January of this year.

In a press release, Mystics General Manager Mike Thibault said the following:

Our decision to trade our first round pick was based on a couple things. Our roster is very close to being set for this season and it would have been tough to keep everyone we liked on the roster. The 2025 draft has the potential to be a very significant draft, coming after the end of the extra Covid year that college players were granted the past several years. The depth of [the 2025] draft should be great and we will now have two first round picks in that draft.

The Mystics didn’t enter the 2023 WNBA Draft with glaring weaknesses that would prevent them from making the playoffs like the 2013 team Thibault inherited during his first year in Washington. Soares, the player whom Washington drafted will sit this season out due to an ACL injury she suffered early in the college season. And even if she were able to play, Soares plays the same position as Shakira Austin, who had a surprisingly strong 2023 season of her own.

I just didn’t see Soares being a fit for the Mystics given that Austin was already fitting in so well. But I am very happy to see that they were able to turn her draft rights into a future asset down the road.

What are your reactions to the trade? Let us know in the comments below.