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

The 2022 Washington Mystics season (and 12 months) has been a few staff in transition. For 2 years, followers have been hoping to see Elena Delle Donne again to full energy most days, as Ariel Atkins and Natasha Cloud would make up one of many WNBA’s greatest defensive tackles. However most of all, followers wished to see the staff make a playoff run with among the key gamers within the 2019 event.

Did all of this stuff occur? No. However total, I might say 2022 has been a profitable 12 months for the Mystics, as they’ve made a change between succeeding within the season, saying goodbye to some previous characters and taking a look at what future groups will appear to be.

The issues mystics ought to be pleased 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 constructive means.

  • 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 standard 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 properly she slot in with the Mystics, she could have been their first alternative all alongside. I am going to 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 Staff. Cloud was additionally tied for fifth within the favor vote WNBA Defensive Participant of the Yr.
  • Elena Delle Donne is again because the Mystics’ main scorer per recreation 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 recreation. It usually missed video games for load administration causes. She additionally averaged 19 factors per recreation within the playoffs. Though she did not seem on the All-Star or All-WNBA Staff, let’s needless to say 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 Staff for the FIBA ‚Äč‚ÄčLadies’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 recreation. Austin additionally averaged these numbers at about 21.5 minutes per recreation. After the season, Austin was named to the WNBA All-Rookie Staff and the USA ladies’s nationwide basketball staff, Profitable 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 in opposition to Puerto Rico.
  • Ariel Atkins confirms her standing as one of many WNBA’s greatest guards – Atkins has been often called a stable defender and stable scorer all through her skilled profession. In every of her final two seasons, Atkins has stepped up her recreation and scored a extra central aim for her staff. She averaged 14.6 factors and a pair of.3 assists per recreation, made her second straight All-Star look and was additionally on Staff 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’d have superior to the semifinals (though I do not assume they’d have received all of it). As a substitute, the Mystics had been the one staff with a 20+ win file that was completed 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 could be a stable participant for quarter-hour per recreation who may arrange teammates and preserve defenses sincere together with her scoring. As a passer, she was tenth within the league for help proportion (and averaged 2.6 assists per recreation). However Machida averaged simply 1.8 factors per recreation and shot 31 % from the sphere, which is not ok for a staff seeking to get again to the WNBA Finals sooner somewhat than later.
  • Mischa Hines Allen operating again for the second consecutive season after the 2020 season – Hines-Allen averaged 8.9 factors and 5.3 rebounds per recreation in 34 video games however solely began 15 video games. Maybe she is going to bounce again in 2023, however she is coming into the second 12 months of a assured contract that may 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 recreation in 29 video games after lacking the 2021 season as a consequence of an harm to Lefranc. She remained a stable defender, however Clarke considerably fell behind together with her three-point pictures. She barely made 30 % of them (30 out of 99 makes an attempt). In 2020, her last 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 consequence 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 muse for the staff to succeed after him

After the 2022 WNBA season, Mike Tebow continued teaching as an assistant for Staff 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 common 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 tip of an period in Washington. Earlier than Thibault got here to DC, the Mystics had restricted success within the postseason and had been often called 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 reminiscent of 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 tip of her profession, they and Atkins seem like the core Eric Thibault will work to construct on final season’s success.


How do you all assume the 2022 thriller season was a very good match for you followers? Tell us within the feedback under.

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