Tayler Hill's pregnancy should not radically change the Washington Mystics' offseason strategy

Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

So, now that we've let the news of Tayler Hill's pregnancy sink in, let's talk a little more about it.

After thinking it through, I think Shannon Cotterell had the best point made after I wrote some thoughts on some fans who questioned Hill's commitment to the team after her pregnancy:

There are numerous examples of players in various sports having children and coming back strong in their sports career

It’s not the easiest thing to do, but there’s no reason to think that Hill can’t regain her current form again if she wants to and works hard at it post-pregnancy.

Yes, there will be an impact to the Mystics, as she will not be 100% when the season starts. The Mystics will make a professional decision based on that and what her timetable looks like when they have to make roster cuts. Even at not 100% she should be worth keeping as an at-minimum better-than-the-11th-player option. And any team that needs a 2nd year player to bail them out has bigger problems than that 2nd year player having a baby during the offseason. The Mystics are going to take some time to rebuild, regardless of Hill’s status this season. If anything, if she wants to have a family, then having a child now—as opposed to later on when she might be an integral part of a potential championship team—makes sense!

Not only do I think that was a great comment which was rec'ed five times, I also agree with it 100%. The Mystics offseason strategy shouldn't change dramatically because of Hill's pregnancy.

We won't belabor everything said about her, but though she did have a rough start to her 2013 season, Hill did score over 10 points a game in six of her last seven regular season contests, and also was a bright point for them in Game 2 of the playoffs vs. the Atlanta Dream where she played at a high level while most of the other players had bad nights. If the WNBA season was 82 games long, (and assuming that she isn't pregnant), I would imagine that Hill would likely be starting again, and she'll be even more of a factor in games. Based on the upward trajectory in her performance for 2013, once she is back into game shape, it certainly is possible that Hill can play like she did toward the end of the 2013 season, and perhaps even better.

As it stands today, DC has the sixth pick in the draft, a player who should have a good chance to make the rotation, but at the same time, it's not like that pick is expected to be a superstar. While most people think that Hill is an important part for the Mystics' future, it's not like a pregnancy is going to negatively alter her career to the point where she cannot play anymore, so long as she gets back into a strong workout plan after having her child. And many female athletes have had kids and still played at a high level after that.

Given that the Mystics do not really have a young player who is a superstar in the making, and also given that the top of their roster isn't made of such players either, it's still clear that they still need to find a way to build a younger core with such players besides Tayler Hill, even if she wasn't pregnant. So at the end of the day, with the sixth pick in the draft, they need to just find the best player available regardless of position. So, if a wing player is picked at #6, that is perfectly fine. And besides, Hill can use competition on the roster. But we don't want to see veteran players who play similar positions impede her (and any other young players') progress because they undoubtedly need time on the floor as well.

Having said all of that, it is fair to question whether she will or even should still be on the Mystics' roster for much longer. If the Mystics are in the running to get a younger legitimate superstar player, then if the other team wants Hill, Mike Thibault has to be willing to offer her in a package. But he also needs to be wary of dealing her, and any other draft pick, or younger player he has for a veteran player who may be able to give the Mystics more wins for 2014, but won't give the team a real chance to be a legitimate contender for the next several years after that. The long term is more important, even if he and Mystics fans are impatient for a contending team.

So in the end, this Mystics team is still rebuilding. Yes, Hill's pregnancy could hinder the team's progress in the short term. But at the end of the day, it shouldn't really change what they need to do in order to build a team that is a perennial factor in the league.

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