Not Enough Balls. It still being an odd-numbered year, good karma deserted the Mystics once again. This afternoon the WNBA held its annual draft lottery, and the Mystics came out where they went in: at the bottom of the list.
The five teams that finished out of the playoffs this past season, including the Mystics, were in the lottery. Those with the worst records had the most chances of securing the top three picks. Since the Mystics finished ahead of the other four non-playoff teams (making them the best of the worst), they had the fewest chances to secure one of those picks. Once the order of the top three picks was determined, the remaining two teams would draft in reverse order according to where they finished last season.
One complicating factor, and an unfortunate one for the Mystics and their fans, was the league's recent addition of a team in Atlanta to start play in 2008. As part of the
sweetheart expansion deal with Atlanta, the league gave Atlanta the fourth pick in the college draft, which means that heading into the lottery, the Mystics could only come out with the 1st, 2d, 3d or 6th pick.
As luck (and statistical probabilities) would have it, the Mystics did not win one of the top three picks, and so they will have the 6th overall pick in the college draft. That will get them a good player, but it will not get them Candace Parker (if she decides to give up her last year of college eligibility and join the pros next summer) or 6'6" Sylvia Fowles ("Big Syl"). One of those players will most likely end up playing for the L.A. Sparks, who dropped to the bottom of the league this past season due to Lisa Leslie's pregnancy, Chamique's unscheduled retirement, and a host of injuries. The Chicago Sky got lucky with the 2nd pick, followed by Minnesota and then Houston.
Of course, finishing with #6 doesn't preclude the possibility that one of the Terrapins, Crystal Langhorne or Laura Harper, might still be available, and could be wearing Mystics blue in 2008. One can only hope!