Many of the General Managers in this league are also head coaches. So for this pick as with other teams, both before and after this pick, let's assume that the Head Coach and General Manager are in different bodies.
You are the General Manager of the Washington Mystics and have final say on basketball operations. Last year in 2013, your team went 17-17, a very big improvement from 2012 when your team was a league-worst 5-29. This was good enough to earn the third seed in the Eastern Conference Playoffs. Because of the big jump in the standings, your head coach, Mike Thibault won the 2013 Coach of the Year Award.
The two biggest improvements you saw in 2013 was that the acquisition of Ivory Latta gave you a steady playmaker and perimeter scorer. In fact, the Mystics were also second in the WNBA for three point shooting percentage. Second, you also got to see a rookie quartet in Tayler Hill, Tierra Ruffin-Pratt, Nadirah McKenith, and Emma Meesseman, all of whom played well together off the bench for much of the season. In fact they were the players with the highest net plus/minus ratings for the team last year which only confirms that. Another year with these players playing together could show some more chemistry here.
While many Mystics and WNBA fans may think that the ship has been completely righted already simply because of the standings and that Mike Thibault is now coaching the team, you are still wary about the team's long term direction.
The biggest problems with this team from a personnel standpoint is that no one is a true "franchise level player" and there were no players on the 2013 team being considered for the Team USA 2014 FIBA World Championship and 2016 Olympic teams. The latter of these issues was rectified with the addition of Kara Lawson, who played for Thibault before when he was with the Connecticut Sun. But she is now getting close to her mid 30's so she's not a long term solution to win your team a title.
Unlike the Washington Wizards NBA and Washington Capitals NHL teams which both share the same ownership as the Mystics, you don't think that you have to go the same route they did to rebuild their teams for future success, namely, blowing everything up as soon as possible. And also unlike the NBA and NHL which is where the "Ten Point Plan" makes the most sense, there are fewer teams to deal with, not to mention that star player movement is especially difficult, and frustrating for you.
Therefore, you hope to build a team that consistently plays better than expected, like the 2013 team. You hope that you can accumulate the assets needed to acquire a superstar with your 2014 players collectively improving which would raise their value to other teams, and also hope that the team you have creates an environment where a superstar player who is not past her prime will be very interested in playing in Washington, D.C.
So far in this draft with the Mystics picking sixth, we know that they will not be able to select the big names with Chiney Ogwumike, Alyssa Thomas, and Odyssey Sims being picked up a long time ago. But most of the remaining better prospects all could be a good long term fit for your team: Stefanie Dolson, Kayla McBride, and Bria Hartley all could provide another boost for the Mystics going forward and be an additional piece to the young group of players they already have. Since McBride was selected fifth yesterday, that list goes down to Dolson and Hartley.
However among these two prospects, both play very different positions. Dolson plays center and could be starting most of the summer. Hartley plays point guard and while she could be a great young addition for the Mystics, even long term, she may not be playing much with Ivory Latta and Kara Lawson likely playing most of the minutes at the guard positions. So should the sixth spot be used to fill a need on the roster instead of simply the "best player available?"
Because Tayler Hill will be out for much of this season due to pregnancy, it could be tempting to pick up a wing player as well, but doing so could raise eyebrows regarding her selection last year, if they haven't already.
So, that's it. If you are the Washington Mystics General Manager, and you keep this pick, who do you select?
We are awaiting your pick in the **comments** below as well as your thoughts on who needs to be added to our list for future picks.
[Nate's procedural note]: Over the past couple of days we've experienced some shenanigans in the voting process that have prompted a bit of a change starting today.
Instead of voting with SB Nation's formal poll feature, we're going to move to voting in the comments, which requires everyone who wishes to cast a vote to log in first. By doing this, we avoid the conundrum of trying to determine if someone is stuffing the ballot box.
The way this process will work is as follows:
- UPDATE: The players on the draft board are listed in the comments below. The Indiana Fever selected Kayla McBride fifth overall in our mock draft; Vanderbilt's Christina Foggie has been added to our poll to replace her. That pick might make a little more sense with the announcement that Katie Douglas is headed to the Connecticut Sun (in real life).
- You can cast your vote in two ways: 1) posting a new comment with the subject line "Vote: [insert player name here]" OR 2) logging in and clicking the "rec" button on someone else's previous vote (which would still keep your vote anonymous to the world). In terms of your effort, it really shouldn't require any extra time; if nobody else has nominated your choice, it just takes a few more keystrokes.
- We will tally the recs for each nominated player to determine the team's draft choice.
The process itself really isn't that difficult - we just want to make sure the results reflect the majority of the voting community and anyone already registered for the site can still vote this way.
If you have any comments, concerns, or questions, just shoot us an email at swishappeal at gmail.com. Thanks!
For more background on all of the draft's top prospects, check out our 2014 WNBA Draft prospect watch storystream.