Playoff seeding is on the line for the Eastern Conference teams that have clinched, namely the Chicago Sky and Indiana Fever. Therefore, it's in their best interest to win. Unfortunately, they won't play tonight
Other teams have an opportunity to either meddle around or cut their losses and try to get a better draft pick. That could make games meaningless to watch.
1. Washington Mystics (15-17) at Connectcut Sun (12-20), 7 p.m. ET
This game is on WCTX in the Connecticut area.
This is a game where the Sun has absolutely NO INCENTIVE to even try to compete in this game. Therefore losing is winning. First, they're competing against the Seattle Storm and Tulsa Shock for the most lottery balls. Then, losing to the Mystics in the record books gives them a second Top-4 pick in the Draft.
For the Mystics, yes, the treadmill number is one. One more Liberty loss or a win on their end will get them in the Playoffs. But even though they have a lot of youth, and even though they have a UConn duo among their three rookies, the reality is that they aren't ready to contend. The other two youngster teams (Connecticut and Tulsa) also have more assets to build for a long term contender. The Sun with two Top-4 picks in two straight drafts sounds like a winning move to me, while the Mystics continue to hope that a mid first round pick will be a superstar.
In the NBA, drafting is an art because of how young prospects are entering the league. But in the WNBA, the draft is a science because rookies are more polished when they enter the league. I'm not saying that mid first rounders can't be good players or even All-Stars, but the top pick or two in a Draft is rarely an epic bust.
Despite the fact that Swish Appeal believes that the Mystics are best off losing out and hoping that the Liberty can sneak in that last seed, the Mystics will be going for the "instant gratification" anyway, and unless the Mystics prove everyone wrong by going to the Finals, this isn't a route that's worth taking. The odds are stacked against them in the postseason in our opinion.
Here's to hoping for a Connecticut Sun "victory" because it could be a bigger victory long term for the Mystics.
2. Tulsa Shock (12-20) at Atlanta Dream (18-14), 7:30 p.m. ET
This game is on SportSouth in the ATL area.
The Shock is out of the playoffs at this point, and they've also topped last year's win total. Therefore, they have NO INCENTIVE to try, because losing is winning now. Even with former Dream head coach Fred Williams coming to town.
The Dream also clinched the number one seed in the East thanks to mediocrity, injuries, and/or coaching ineptitude of other teams. This game will be a glorified pick up contest.
3. Minnesota Lynx (24-8) at San Antonio Stars (14-18), 8 p.m. ET
This is on Fox Sports Southwest in the San Antonio area, Fox Sports North Plus in the Minneapolis area. NBA TV has it nationally.
The Stars are in a position not unlike the Mystics in some ways. But they do have a point guard who is getting astronomically better every year, and Kayla McBride has the game-winner gene in her. She could be the best guard in this draft class when history looks back on it. So yeah, I want to see what this team can do in the postseason, even if it's a one-and-done appearance.
With the Lynx knowing that their playoff seeding has been established, they don't have any incentive to win anymore unless they want to match the 2013 team's regular season record.
Last but not least, Stars, win one for Hammon! This is her last regular season home game, and I don't want to see the Seattle Storm sneak into the 4th seed, which would only hurt a rebuilding effort for them.
Therefore, this, and Hammon's last regular season home game is why this is the game of the night. Go get' em Stars!
4. Los Angeles Sparks (15-17) at Seattle Storm (12-20), 10 p.m. ET
This game is on TWC SportsNet in the L.A. area. NBA TV has it nationally.
As inconsistent the Sparks are, they have earned the third seed in the West and despite our pleas to the contrary, this gives an incentive for them to keep their core intact for 2015, which I hope doesn't happen. And for the Storm, we know Brian Agler is hoping that that new bolt he installed on the treadmill will work for just one more weekend. It is wearing off real quick though.....
That's all I have. Enjoy the games everyone.