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Washington Mystics draft needs season preview: Can this offense stay this good?

Elena Delle Donne and the Mystics are the defending champions and had the best offense in women’s basketball history last season. Can they do it again?

Elena Delle Donne of Washington Mystics smiles with the trophy after winning Game Five of the 2019 WNBA Finals on October 10, 2019 at the St. Elizabeths East Entertainment and Sports Arena in Washington, DC.  Photo by Stephen Gosling/NBAE via Getty Images

Update 12:00 p.m. April 15: The Mystics were a part of this trade which netted them seven-time all-star Tina Charles, but cost them their first-round pick in this draft and Shatori Walker-Kimbrough, as well as their first round pick in 2021.

After a terrific 2019 Finals, the Washington Mystics claimed the franchise’s first WNBA championship in five games over the Connecticut Sun. The regular season MVP Elena Delle Donne finally got the monkey off her back of being the best player to never win the ring, and a loyal fanbase was rewarded.

The Mystics have decided to run it back, and why wouldn’t you with the most offensively efficient team in league history by a mile: A 115.9 scoring rate per 100 possessions dwarfed second place by 12.6 points, and was four points better than any team in the WNBA’s 23-year history.

If Delle Donne feels no pressure now that she’s reached the summit of the game, she could be the most dominant force the game has ever seen. There’s been exactly one 6’5 female in human history that can shoot 43% from three-point range and 97% from the free throw line for an entire season, and she’s still in her prime entering her age 30 season.

But in a league where several other teams have made upgrades and consolidated talent, will they have enough to repeat?

WNBA title odds: 7/1 (DraftKings Sportsbook projected odds)

Offseason moves

The loss of Kristi Toliver to the Los Angeles Sparks will hurt, but the Mystics bring back Leilani Mitchell, who was the league’s Most Improved Player for the second time in her career last season. The 12-year veteran averaged 12.8 points and 4.0 assists for the Phoenix Mercury last year.

Additions

Leilani Mitchell (free agency)
Lee-Seul Kang (South Korea)

Departures

Kristi Toliver (free agency)

2020 WNBA Draft

Picks

1st round, #12 overall
2nd round, #24 overall
3rd round, #36 overall

Needs

Opposing teams may whine about how Delle Donne officiated while she’s defending, but there’s no denying she’s an evolution the sport that hasn’t been seen before. And the rise of Emma Meesseman, who was the Finals MVP with 17.8 points and 4.6 rebounds per game on .571 shooting from the field without starting a game, gives the Mystics a twin tower presence that’s as good as anyone in the league.

Washington was fourth in defensive rating last year, but could use another body to help get stops. Beatrice Monpremier from Miami would make a lot of sense to add to the post depth and defense, or if Crystal Dangerfield from UConn falls to the end of the first round, she could be a “3-and-d” guard to make them better on both sides immediately.