Saturday, September 01, 2012

Too High A Cost

The Mystics returned from the WNBA’s month-long Olympic break and picked up pretty much where they left off. Whatever the team worked on during the hiatus (swimming, for example) hasn’t translated into success on the basketball court.

With Thursday night’s 23-point loss to the short-handed, soap-opera-enveloped Atlanta Dream, the Mystics are now 1-6 since the Olympics, and, at 5-20 overall, the first team in the league to notch 20 losses this season (hardly an enviable achievement). Dating back to the start of the 2011 season, under the “leadership” of GM/Head Coach Trudi Lacey, the team is 11-48. Moreover, they have yet to record consecutive victories. Astounding, actually. In a span of 59 games, the Mystics have not had a single winning “streak.” Every one of their 11 wins was followed by a loss. Even the relocated, dismantled, reconstructed, under[wo]manned Tulsa Shock don’t have that distinction. Only the Mystics.

So what do the Mystics’ owners make of this trainwreck? Well, mostly, they aren’t talking. Majority owner Ted Leonsis blogs regularly about the Wizards and the Caps, win or lose. There’s a good bit of openness and transparency from Ted on his blog about those teams. But the Mystics? You’d be hard pressed to find any words about them on Ted’s blog this summer, except, perhaps, when John Wall was spotted at a Mystics game. But then on August 27th (3 months into the season), Ted broke his radio blog silence, posting that the Mystics had signed free agent Iziane Castro Marques.  In announcing the signing, Ted wrote that “We simply need more talent on our roster and adding a piece via free agency will help us . . .”

He also wrote: “We will most likely qualify for a high draft pick this coming off season and gratefully this is a very deep draft.” In other words, the owners, who retained (and even praised) Lacey after last season’s 6-28 showing, have chosen to publicly ignore her dismal record again this season. Instead of addressing the “leadership” problem, it appears they have written off this season and are looking ahead to what everyone who follows the sport knows will likely be a game-changing draft for several lucky teams next spring. In other words, this season’s players and fans be damned; if the ping pong ball gods smile on the Mystics . . . Washington might get Brittney!

Well, you know what? We don’t think that getting a Brittney Griner or an Elena Delle Donne or a Skylar Diggins on the Mystics is any excuse for the utterly abysmal and embarrassing basketball the players and fans have had to suffer through these last two seasons. The Mystics were on their way up in 2010. (Among other things, 20 [plus!] wins for the first time in team history.)  Since then, thanks to their savvy business moves, Mystics management have plunged the team into the basketball cellar, turning the franchise into the laughingstock of the league.

Yes, the BCs would enjoy watching Brittney (or EDD or Skylar) play. But No, we don’t think getting a high lottery pick, even in next year’s draft, justifies these past two seasons of misery. Ownership has failed the players and the fans. Some things just come at too high a cost.


At 2:51 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Even with any one of those draft pics--the Mystics will be only moderately better if the coach doesn't change. Yes, a talent like any of the 3 could make them better---but without a good coach I'm afraid they will only be fairly descent.

We all know that coaching isn't a crap shoot. Well, everyone but Sheila Johnson knows this.

At 4:10 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Glad to see that Kizer is back with Phoenix.

At 4:52 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The only hope we had for the 2011season was that the Mystics would end up in the lottery for the 2012 draft. We had coniption fits when we read that the Minnesota Lynx traded Nicky Anosike to the Mystics in exchange for Washington's 2012 first round pick.

Minnesota drafted Devereaux Peters with the third pick. They might wish they had drafted
Samantha Prahalis or Briana Gilbreath. Speaking of Prahalis and Gilbreath, both of them played very well for Phoenix last night.
The Mystics drafted Gilbreath in the third round but Waivey Lacey waived her.

The only hope we have for the 2012 season is that we end up in the lottery for the 2013 draft and the Mystics get a new G.M./Coach. Considering that we have invested 15 years in this team, we don't think that it is too high a cost to have a chance at getting Brittney Griner or Elena Delle Donne or Skylar Diggins. If it were just one of them in the draft, we would say that it is too risky to alienate more fans with another losing season. But with all three of them in the same draft, we think the odds are pretty good that we will get one of them.

Whatever happens with the lottery, we will not renew our tickets unless they get a new G.M./Coach.

Two Founding Fans

At 11:09 PM, Anonymous nsw43 said...

I couldn't believe Trudi picked up Izzy Castro-Marques and let go Natasha Lacey at this point in the season. It's not like the Mystics are going anywhere except to the lottery.

Izzy is a wildly erratic player and known to be locker-room poison (hence her record of playing for 5 different teams). Natasha was inconsistent, but she showed potential, had a great can-do attitude and seemed to be a beloved teammate.

What's the point of this move, except to torture the Mystics players?

At 3:58 PM, Blogger dcsportsfan said...

Given the franchise's luck in the draft lottery, we will not get any of the top three. Then again, it's clear that DC needs a superstar, so we probably deserve at least a #2 pick more than any other team, based on the level of suffering Mystics fans had to endure. Great post as usual.

At 9:12 AM, Blogger Hodie said...

I was given courtside tickets to the Dream home game, and I REALLY love sitting courtside. But it was so painful to see how terrible this team is, especially getting a close-up look at the bewildered frustration on Crystal Langhorne's face. Much as I love sitting courtside, we had to leave before the game ended, it was that awful.

What if we do manage to get a high lottery pick? We'll just get to witness yet another wonderful talent be misused and wasted.

We have been season ticket holders since the inaugural season, my name is on the Founding Fans wall, but I will not be renewing my tickets this year. The players don't deserve to be treated so shamefully, and I can't contribute to it any more.

At 2:55 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree with what everyone is saying, but it is important to support Women's Basketball. As a Founding Fan that is the only thing that brings me back. Having no team in DC would be the real shame.

At 7:44 AM, Blogger Hodie said...

I do support women's basketball; the money I would've given to the dysfunctional front office of the mystics I'm giving instead to the beautifully functional University of Maryland Women's Basketball team. Giving money to the mystics doesn't feel to me like it's supporting female athletes, it feels like it's supporting the wrecking of female athletes, the waste of their talent.


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