The Washington Mystics are closing in on the franchise’s first championship and their NBA brethren are well aware.
Washington Wizards players were in attendance Sunday at the city’s Entertainment and Sports Arena for Game 1 of the WNBA Finals, which the top-seeded Mystics won, 95-86, against the No. 2 Connecticut Sun. They are now two wins away from the title.
It may be what pushes the Wizards in future seasons.
Beal: Wizards ‘gotta get rolling’
The Mystics and Wizards are both owned by Monumental Sports & Entertainment, led by Ted Leonsis. The teams collaborate and Wizards players were spotted at Mystics games throughout the summer, notably during the semifinals with masks. WNBA league MVP Elena Delle Donne wears one after breaking her nose earlier this year.
During the Wizards’ media day, Bradley Beal noted that the Wizards need to step it up to keep pace with the Mystics.
“Wizards gotta get rolling because Mystics about to bring it in and get two for Ted,” Bradley Beal says with a smile pic.twitter.com/iU23OeGPgE— Kelyn Soong (@KelynSoong) September 30, 2019
“I know the Wizards gotta get rolling, man, because the Mystics, they’re about to bring in that hardware,” Beal said.
The Wizards are also up against MLB’s Nationals, who begin the playoffs this week, and NHL’s Capitals, who begin their quest for another Stanley Cup next weekend. The Capitals, 2018 Stanley Cup winners, are also owned by Leonsis’ Monumental Sports & Entertainment.
Bradley Beal on the #Mystics run and #Nationals' playoffs:— Candace Buckner (@CandaceDBuckner) September 30, 2019
"I know the Wizards got to get rolling."
And specially on the #Mystics'' expected championship: “That’s two for Ted and he’s going to be looking at us with a few frowny faces.”
Wall says Mystics ‘perfect’
John Wall sees more coming down the road for the team he watches practice. Wall, who has plenty of time to observe while out with a ruptured Achilles, spoke to The Athletic’s David Aldridge during game 1.
“Their team is perfect,” an admiring John Wall said from courtside Sunday. “It’s easier said than done with the WNBA; they can get superstars together [with only 12 teams], so they can get a lot of players together. But you’ve got a person in Natasha Cloud that just runs the team, don’t look to score, but can make open shots. Kristi [Toliver] can get a bucket. Delle Donne’s going to be your scorer. Emma [Meesseman] is your sixth man. [LaToya] Sanders is like a Udonis Haslem — make the mid-range, block shots, guard your best player. So they have all the pieces. When you’ve got that, you don’t have to go one-on-one all the time … they keep this team together, they’ll win multiple championships. They would have won it last year if Emma had been here.”
Wall also spoke about the Mystics at media day with similar sentiment. The 2019 Mystics are the most efficient offense in league history and Delle Donne joined eight NBA players in the 40/50/90 club. Meesseman also had a 40/50/90 season, but missed games due to Eurobasket and did not qualify for the official honor.
The Mystics were swept in the 2018 finals by the Seattle Storm, a team stacked with ’18 MVP Breanna Stewart and veteran star Sue Bird. Meesseman, who was the X-factor in the semifinals, skipped the season due to year-round play.
Winning multiple championships going forward — if they secure this one first — will be tough. But they’re already showing the quality of unselfishness that led the Minnesota Lynx to one of the league’s’ most dominant runs.
Leonsis reorganized his organization’s structure and formed Monumental Basketball to intertwine the holdings that include Capital City Go-Go of the G League and Wizards District Gaming of the NBA2K League. They share some of the same resources, which leads to collaboration.
Mystics head coach Mike Thibault, the winningest coach in WNBA history who is still chasing a ring, will be involved on the Wizards side in some function, per the Washington Post. He was at Wizards media day the morning after Game 1.
Over the summer, the Wizards have watched Mystics practices and Wizards head coach Scott Brooks has watched “as much as I can.” Even without a championship in hand, the Mystics are the basketball team to model in D.C. and the Wizards know it.
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