When your team is known for not being a winner, it is bound to be known as a punchline. Until today, I just didn't know how international a punchline can be in the WNBA.
Our own James Bowman tweeted me this:
@aleeinthedmv So is it really true that the Washington Mystics are the Charlotte Bobcats of the WNBA? Spanish Twitter is blowing up w this.— James Bowman (@JBowman_SA) September 30, 2014
@aleeinthedmv "Washington Mystics are the WNBA Charlotte Bobcats . They have the worst record in the league and never win in the draft."— James Bowman (@JBowman_SA) September 30, 2014
So I investigated, and found this in Spanish:
Washington Mystics son los Charlotte Bobcats de la WNBA. Tienen el peor record de la liga y nunca ganan en el draft.— Ignacio Dominguez (@Ignacio_Domingu) September 30, 2014
That's just the tip of the iceberg though. After searching for "mystics son los charlotte bobcats" on Twitter, this statement was repeated a ton of times in Spanish.
I was skeptical about the validity of these accounts. So I clicked on some of the profiles, and the majority of them appear to be valid. I'll give the profiles benefit of the doubt until told otherwise. Either way, the statement is the truth, so I can't complain about it.
I know some Mystics fans will be offended by this. We'll also note that the organization today, from ownership, to Mike Thibault, to the current players on the team are all professionals to the core. They all take basketball seriously. And NBA fans will note that the Charlotte Bobcats have now changed their name to the Hornets, effective this season. They also have a really promising team now. But that's irrelevant.
This however, is relevant: The Washington Mystics have an all-time record of 224-342, which is a winning percentage of 39.6%. That's right. A 16-18 2014 regular season record, which would hurt most team's all-time winning percentages, actually HELPED THE MYSTICS HERE! They are also the only WNBA team in the league to NEVER make the Finals, since we are including Detroit's franchise history with the Tulsa Shock.
Then with the Draft, the Mystics missed out on multiple realistic opportunities to draft:
- Sue Bird (2002)
- Swin Cash (2002)
- Diana Taurasi (2004)
- Angel McCoughtry (2009)
- Brittney Griner (2013)
- Elena Delle Donne (2013)
- Skylar Diggins (2013)
That's one really nice list right there.
This wasn't because the Mystics drafted a "Sam Bowie." It was because they just didn't get a high enough pick to get one of these franchise players. Even Taurasi made note of this.
During the Charlotte Bobcats (2004-2014) era, they only made the playoffs twice during that time, and couldn't win a game in the first round of the playoffs. They even have the unfortunate record of futility with their 7-59 record in the 2011-12 season, which was the worst NBA season ever based on winning percentage. They too have never had a chance to draft a number of star NBA players themselves and couldn't because they weren't lucky enough in the Draft Lottery.
But in 2012, the Bobcats made a questionable decision to draft Michael Kidd-Gilchrist at #2, and passed over Bradley Beal who went to the Washington Wizards at #3. But to be fair, Beal isn't an All-Star yet. Anthony Davis, the #1 pick in the 2012 Draft is.
It is unfortunate that the Washington Mystics are still a punchline in their league. But they've earned it -- it takes time and winning over a sustained period before that label can be shed. It also sucks that Washington doesn't figure to be a factor in the short term.
But if they can continue to build the right way, things will turn around. Look at the Los Angeles Clippers, solely from a basketball standpoint before and after Blake Griffin started playing there. You'll see what I mean.
But now that I saw Twitter put the Washington Mystics and the Charlotte Bobcats in the same sentence, here's another fact:
Trudi Lacey was the General Manager and Head Coach of the Washington Mystics from 2011-12, and had the unfortunate responsibility of leading a team in turmoil, which doomed her from the start. Lacey was also the General Manager of the former Charlotte Sting from 2003-2006, and also was the head coach from 2003-2005, before former Hornets great Muggsy Bogues took over. Who happened to own the Sting during most of her tenure as GM and head coach?
You guessed it. Robert Johnson, the former owner of ... the Charlotte Bobcats.