In a blog post from Hartford Courant writer John Altavilla yesterday, he offers some details regarding Washington Mystics General Manager and Head Coach Mike Thibault regarding what he has been up to now that the "honeymoon" period of his hiring has ended. Here are the big points:
1. Coach Thibault stated that his assistants from Connecticut, Scott Hawk and Bernadette Maddox, will not return, so there will be a new staff behind him.
2. Like other WNBA coaches and scouts at this time of year, he is hard at work scouting, where he was at Maryland's home game against Florida State last weekend, and also at Georgetown's game last Wednesday against the University of Connecticut. The play of Huskies guard Kelly Faris has caught his eye, in part given that she has become a more efficient shooter all around (here are her stats for this year as opposed to past years). Still, it's unlikely that she is a serious candidate at the Mystics' current 2013 draft position at 4th, unlike Maryland power forward Tianna Hawkins who is currently averaging 19 points and 10 rebounds a game and has improved a lot from last season.
3. This is not surprising to me, and I admit that I have advocated this from last September:
Thibault said the Mystics are exploring opportunities to move up in the draft, perhaps as high as No. 2 where they could take Delaware All-American Elena Delle Donne. Chicago currently holds the pick.
In Altavilla's piece, he also basically confirmed that the Mystics are a front court heavy team, mentioning that as of right now, they have Crystal Langhorne, Monique Currie, and Michelle Snow to build around. From Coach Thibault's Q&A with season ticket holders last month, he mentioned that guards, in particular point guards were a priority considering the lack of talent depth there, so there's a good chance that if the Mystics pick higher than 4th, they could be eyeing Notre Dame guard Skylar Diggins not unlike how the Washington Redskins NFL team determined that they needed a star rookie quarterback at a very high position this past year. But at the same time, he may be able to pick up a decent non-rookie guard via free agency or by trade so perhaps not.
4. Last but not least, this was an interesting tidbit in regards to the Portland Trail Blazers offering Coach Thibault an assistant coach spot to return to the NBA. The offer with the Blazers happened during the 2012 WNBA season and if Coach Thibault accepted it, he would have had to resign midseason for the job. So therefore, it seems that Monumental Sports did not have to compete against the Blazers simultaneously for his services.
Do these tidbits perhaps signal what direction he's going in specifically? Not really to me since we don't know whether he'd keep the core of the team intact or not. But Coach Thibault is doing his due diligence, and not leaving any stone unturned is a good strategy to keep everyone guessing as to how he will improve the team during free agency and as we head toward the 2013 Draft.