Yesterday, I shared the Top 12 Washington Wizards players of all-time, according to Basketball Reference. The ranking was based solely off of regular season win shares.
Basketball Reference has a robust WNBA section as well. And they have a nice layout of Washington Mystics content as well.
Here are the Top 12 Mystics players of all-time, again based on win shares:
- Elena Delle Donne — 26.0
- Emma Meesseman — 23.6
- Chamique Holdsclaw — 21.6
- Monique Currie — 21.2
- Crystal Langhorne — 21.2
- Alana Beard — 19.3
- Ariel Atkins — 15.1
- Natasha Cloud — 12.6
- Murriel Page — 12.5
- Chasity Melvin — 12.1
- Ivory Latta — 12.0
- Vicky Bullett — 9.8
Compared to the Wizards’ rankings, I feel that the ranking here are quite accurate. I don’t have any complaints.
One of the biggest reasons is that the WNBA is simply a younger league. It is less than 30 years old. Unlike the Wizards, where it’s hard to compare Wes Unseld to Marcin Gortat (who wasn’t a Top 12 Wizards player), it’s easier to compare Delle Donne against Holdsclaw since there isn’t a long gap between their professional careers. That will change as the WNBA adjusts to longer schedules and gets older.
Second, the players who five players who rank highest on the list (Delle Donne, Meesseman, Holdsclaw, Currie, Langhorne) are among the longest-tenured Mystics in franchise history.
Of course, there are some flaws. Career win shares can inflate how “great” someone is or was to her team. In the Top 5, Currie outranks Langhorne but was never an All-WNBA selection or a multi-All-Star like Langhorne. Furthermore, she spent eight seasons in D.C. to get her win shares, while Langhorne only spent six.
Also, some players have multifaceted games that allow them to rack up win shares, even if they aren’t prolific scorers. Meesseman is the best example of this, where she racked at least 4.5 win shares between the 2014-16 seasons despite never being the Mystics’ leading per-game scorer. Meesseman accumulated 2.5 win shares in 2017 and 4.0 win shares in 2019 in the two years she spent with Delle Donne.
In the end, the best players who spend long stretches with the franchise will come out on top. That’s what we see with Delle Donne, who accumulated 5.4 win shares in 2017, 5.9 in 2018 and 7.7 in 2019 when she hit the ground running averaging close to 20 points a game in each of those three seasons.
How do you feel about these rankings? Let us know in the comments below.