In terms of a "pleasant surprise," the Washington Mystics certainly were one for sure, by improving from a 5-29 record in 2012 to a 17-17 record this season. Also from a win and loss perspective, the Seattle Storm also qualifies because it also was 17-17, and had a better record than last year, with Sue Bird on the roster.
In terms of coaching pleasant surprises, I can't really say that Mike Thibault qualifies, only because he's already regarded as one of the best coaches this league has ever had. But I will say that Russ Pennell has done a fine job leading the Mercury since the midseason point when his predecessor, Corey Gaines was terminated.
Lastly, with players. I'm biased for Ivory Latta, who really showed a lot of us that she not only is a good scorer and energetic personality like she was last year with the Tulsa Shock, but she also has willed the Mystics to a number of wins this season, more than most of us though in the offseason. Then with the 2013 rookie class, I'm also impressed that players beyond the Big Three have played at a high level including players who weren't first round picks like Alex Bentley of the Atlanta Dream and Emma Meesseman of the Washington Mystics.
So ladies and gents, what are your pleasant surprises of the 2013 season?