January 31, 2017
The Washington Mystics, New York Liberty and the Seattle Storm were involved in a three team trade yesterday. The Mystics traded Kia Vaughn and Bria Hartley to the New York Liberty in exchange for Seattle’s #6 pick in the first round of the 2017 WNBA Draft. In return, the Storm received Liberty center Carolyn Swords. Washington also exchanged this year’s second round pick (15 th overall) for Seattle’s second round selection (18th overall). The blockbuster trade didn’t go down until later in the evening when it was announced that Chicago Sky forward Elena Delle Donne had been traded to the Mystics! Delle Donne expressed her desire to part ways with the Chicago Sky to be closer to home (Delaware) and even suggested she would be willing to sit out if a deal didn’t get done. Chicago’s hand was forced and in exchange for their superstar the Sky will receive the 2015 All-Star center Stefanie Dolson; last season’s seventh overall pick, Kahleah Copper; and the second overall selection in this year’s draft.
The acquisition of one of the best players in the WNBA immediately makes the Mystics a championship contender. The Mystics finished 10th in the standings last season with a dismal 13-21 record, missing the playoffs for the first time since the 2012 season. Elena Delle Donne who was the league MVP for the 2015 season will team up with All-Star forward Emma Messeman who continues to improve every year. Messeman was selected to her first All-Star game in 2015 and in 2016 she led her team in scoring with 15.6 points per game. She also lead the entire WNBA in three-point shooting percentage at 45.5%. Tayler Hill had a breakout season for the Mystics where she finished second in voting for Most Improved Player in 2016. Hill’s scoring average increased from 7.5 ppg in 2015 to 15.4 ppg in 2016. Delle Donne, Messeman, and Hill are a pretty dangerous big three in the Eastern Conference. The Mystics are now the team to beat. Although the Liberty had the best record in the EC and the third best record overall last season, Delle Donne changes the game. If head coach Mike Thibault can smoothly insert the talent of Delle Donne into his fast paced offense, they will be an exciting team to watch. Maybe old Mystics fans will come back and support their team this coming season. They certainly will have a lot to cheer for!