Perspective: The Washington Mystics are in a Turbulence Pattern
The Washington Mystics are 3-3 (.0500) to start the 2023 season. The Mystics are still trying to figure out themselves as there have been some questions.
The 2023 Washington Mystics, from beating the “Super team” New York Liberty, just don’t look like the same team.
Elena Della Donne and Shakira Austin are the best duo in the WNBA
Elena Della Donne is clearly back to her MVP form, and Shakira Austin has taken that step as another cornerstone of the franchise.
The former MVP who had back surgery a couple of years ago has dealt with a lot of criticism over the past couple of years. Elena leads the team in minutes (34 mpg) and plays with no restrictions.
Shakira Austin is an All-Star this season. The second-year player progressing smoothly following a successful season overseas in Israel.
The duo Austin and Della Donne has clearly put the WNBA on notice, but they can’t do it alone.
Defense is still the top tier
The Washington Mystics were the number one ranked defense last season for a reason. While six games may be a sample size, the Mystics have kept the games close.
Question, where are the Mystics from game one of this year? Since that win, the team has not played consistently. There have been several games again using the sample size. The Mystics cannot win games, having lapsed four to five minutes without scoring the ball, which puts pressure on the defense. Example, the loss to Minnesota saw the Mystics, at one point in the game for five minutes, struggling offensively.
There have been moments where Della Donne must play the hero and bail out the team in situations that they themselves find. Example, the win against Chicago.
The bench has had an interesting start to the season. Head Coach Eric Thibault has relied more on his starters, but the bench, who was a key piece last season, just has not found consistency. The depth of the bench is better this year, but time will tell as the season for everyone gets going.
The Guard Play
The Mystics have been particularly now general Mike Thibault for addressing the shooting for the Mystics. Brittany Sykes was the Mystics’ big free agency piece. The shooting by the guards just isn’t clicking. When you look at the Washington Mystics’ guard (Natasha Cloud, Ariel Atkins, and Brittany Sykes), all three can do the same thing. Ariel Atkins should be the second option scoring for the Mystics. Atkins and Cloud cracked double digits in the weekend series facing Minnesota and Dallas. The question remains: how can the guard play better?
This Mystics team is a dark horse championship team. But the consistency is not there. Let’s be clear, we haven’t cracked ten games in the season. However, the season had just begun for the team.
But the team has talent that can make things interesting, but this is not 2019, and that must be a reality that needs facing.
The Mystics are at a point where there should not be a marathon or a sprint mentally. This team has been together since training camp. Yes, the schedule is not the greatest, but this core has been together for quite some time.
There are some questions that remain. But one thing is certain about the Washington Mystics. Don’t count them out.