WNBA: The Mystics move into the post-Mike Thibault era in 2022

The 2022 Washington Mystics season (and yr) has been a couple of staff in transition. For 2 years, followers have been hoping to see Elena Delle Donne again to full power most days, as Ariel Atkins and Natasha Cloud would make up one of many WNBA’s finest defensive tackles. However most of all, followers wished to see the staff make a playoff run with a number of the key gamers within the 2019 event.

Did all of this stuff occur? No. However general, I might say 2022 has been a profitable yr for the Mystics, as they’ve made a change between succeeding within the season, saying goodbye to some previous characters and what future groups will appear like.

The issues mystics needs to be happy with in 2022

I’ve to say, after re-watching the 2022 season of the Mystics and going over issues over the previous couple of weeks, this is what stands out in a optimistic approach.

  • The Mystics use their first decide within the 2022 draft for Commerce all the way down to #3 And get a second lottery decide in 2023 – GM’s typical knowledge says to carry on to their first draft picks and solely commerce to a celebrity. The 2022 draft included a number of gamers who may have been No. 1 relying on who Washington wished. Finally, the Mystics selected Mississippi’s Shakira Austin because the third seed. And contemplating how nicely she slot in with the Mystics, she could have been their first alternative all alongside. I will enter Austin at one other level.
  • The Mystics had been the #1 protection within the WNBA – For the complete season, Washington held opponents to 97.8 factors per 100 possessions. This helped them to a 22-14 common season file. After the season, the beginning guards had been Ariel Atkins and Natasha Cloud Named to the All-WNBA Defensive First Crew. Cloud was additionally tied for fifth within the favor vote WNBA Defensive Participant of the 12 months.
  • Elena Delle Donne is again because the Mystics’ main scorer per sport in her first full season since her again harm – Delle Donne has accomplished the complete 2022 season from begin to end. In 25 video games, she scored 17.2 factors and 6.3 rebounds per sport. It typically missed video games for load administration causes. She additionally averaged 19 factors per sport within the playoffs. Though she did not seem on the All-Star or All-WNBA Crew, let’s remember the fact that she returned from a again harm within the 2019 WNBA Finals and was restricted to motion final season. It was good to see her return to her dominant self final season.
  • Shakira Austin Makes USA Crew for the FIBA ​​Girls’s World Cup – Austin wasn’t anticipated to start out in 2022. However GM coach after which head coach Mike Thibault is at all times able to belief his younger gamers when the chance presents itself. Finally, Austin began 32 of Washington’s 36 video games, averaging 8.7 factors and 6.5 rebounds per sport. Austin additionally averaged these numbers at about 21.5 minutes per sport. After the season, Austin was named to the WNBA All-Rookie Crew and the USA ladies’s nationwide basketball staff, Successful the gold medal. Austin got here off the bench for a lot of the matches, however had spectacular performances within the group stage, together with A.J 19 factors, 10 rebounding efficiency towards Puerto Rico.
  • Ariel Atkins confirms her standing as one of many WNBA’s finest guards – Atkins has been referred to as a strong defender and strong scorer all through her skilled profession. In every of her final two seasons, Atkins has stepped up her sport and scored a extra central aim for her staff. She averaged 14.6 factors and a couple of.3 assists per sport, made her second straight All-Star look and was additionally on Crew USA with Austin.
  • Las Vegas sweeps the Aces within the common season, 3-0 – If the Mystics needed to face the Aces within the first spherical of the WNBA playoffs as an alternative of the Seattle Storm, I assure they might have superior to the semifinals (though I do not suppose they might have received all of it). As an alternative, the Mystics had been the one staff with a 20+ win file that was achieved within the playoffs. And the Aces received the WNBA championship.

Missed alternatives for the Sufis

  • Rui Machida wasn’t the backup keeper she may have been – The Japanese celebrity of the 2020 Olympics was by no means anticipated to be a double-string within the WNBA. However I hoped she can be a strong participant for quarter-hour per sport who may arrange teammates and maintain defenses trustworthy together with her scoring. As a passer, she was tenth within the league for help proportion (and averaged 2.6 assists per sport). However Machida averaged simply 1.8 factors per sport and shot 31 % from the sphere, which is not ok for a staff seeking to get again to the WNBA Finals sooner quite than later.
  • Mischa Hines Allen working again for the second consecutive season after the 2020 season – Hines-Allen averaged 8.9 factors and 5.3 rebounds per sport in 34 video games however solely began 15 video games. Maybe she’s going to bounce again in 2023, however she is coming into the second yr of a assured contract that can pay her $175,100 this season and $180,200 in 2024.
  • Alicia Clark environment friendly three-point drop – Clark averaged 8 factors and 4.5 rebounds per sport in 29 video games after lacking the 2021 season as a result of an harm to Lefranc. She remained a strong defender, however Clarke considerably fell behind together with her three-point photographs. She barely made 30 % of them (30 out of 99 makes an attempt). In 2020, her closing WNBA season, Clarke made 35 of 67 triples for the Seattle Storm. And in 2019, she hit 51 out of 106 triples.
    Clark performed longtime franchise participant Sue Fowl as Seattle’s start line guard, so may Fowl’s absence be the rationale Clark’s long-range capturing has dropped a lot? Not precisely as a result of Fowl missed the complete 2019 season as a result of arthroscopic knee surgical procedure. My feeling is that recovering from Lisfranc’s surgical procedure could also be a part of it, nevertheless it’s one thing Clark might want to repair for subsequent season.

The Mystics say goodbye to Mike Thibault as their head coach, however he laid the inspiration for the staff to succeed after him

After the 2022 WNBA season, Mike Tebow continued teaching as an assistant for Crew USA within the World Cup on Cheryl Reeve’s crew. after the event, He introduced that he was retiring as their head coach However he’ll stay as their basic supervisor. Affiliate head coach Eric Thibault is now named the brand new Mystics head coach.

Whereas Thibault would proceed to run the entrance workplace for the Mystics, it marked the top of an period in Washington. Earlier than Thibault got here to DC, the Mystics had restricted success within the postseason and had been referred to as one of many WNBA’s most poorly managed groups. After coming to D.C. and rebuilding the staff over a number of years, they had been lastly in a position to win the 2019 WNBA Championship. And we’re grateful for that.

A number of key gamers from the 2019 staff equivalent to Emma Messeman and Christy Tolliver have departed for different groups. However the Mystics drafted Austin this season and Cloud has grown right into a lone level guard in Washington. As Delle Donne heads towards the top of her profession, they and Atkins look like the core Eric Thibault will work to construct on final season’s success.


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