On the surface, the current Washington Mystics bear significant resemblance to their 2019 counterparts. More than half of that year’s playoff rotation is still on the roster, not counting LaToya Sanders who is still part of the organization as a coach, and Elena Delle Donne is still a generational force to be reckoned with on both ends of the floor.
But just because Delle Donne essentially stepped from the 2019 season directly into this one, that doesn’t mean her teammates did. And the evolution of the rest of the Mystics over the intervening years, combined with the introduction of Shakira Austin and Alysha Clark, makes this squad markedly different from the title-winning group, even if the end goal remains the same.
Kareem Copeland of The Washington Post joined The Whiparound this week to help explain why Washington remains a work in progress even with so much surface-level continuity.
He took us through the construction of this team from the beginning, bringing some insight into what the Mystics expected from Shakira Austin and why they felt comfortable trading away the rights to Rhyne Howard. It has a little to do with that Sparks pick they got back — Mike Thibault is watching the standings intently — but mostly Austin. Kareem also broke down why the offense hasn’t been as dominant as the defense and why he believes Washington is primed for improvement on that end of the floor.
Sabreena and Kareem also discussed what types of matchups could still flummox the Mystics, owners of the league’s second-best defense, come playoff time.
You can listen to all that and more in the full episode embedded below, and to make sure you never miss a single show moving forward, subscribe to the Swish Appeal podcast feed on iTunes, Spotify, or Google Podcasts.