The Washington Mystics went into the WNBA Draft with no glaring needs, making it pretty difficult to predict just who they’d take with their First Round pick. We here at My Mind on Sports tried to predict who Washington would select, it was hard to narrow it to one so a list was comprised. With the seventh overall selection in the draft, the Mystics selected Kahleah Copper from Rutgers University.
With the luxury of taking the best player available, Copper wasn’t a shocking pick when looking at the board. The three Uconn players went back-to-back-to-back to start the draft. Rachel Banham went fourth to the Connecticut Sun. Aerial Powers went next to the Dallas Wings, George Washington’s Jonquel Jones was selected by the Los Angeles Sparks at six. Jones would later be traded to the Sun, meaning they landed picks 3-6 in the first round. While Courtney Williams and Tiffany Mitchell were both on the board, Copper’s versatility and size made her an ideal fit for Washington.
Kahleah is a 6’1 wing that can play either the two or three (shooting guard, small forward), giving Washington yet another piece that can moved up and down the lineup and plug holes as needed. She’s known as a willing defender and has improved her game during her time in school. Her work ethic was on full display going from 5.1 points and 3.5 rebounds a game as a freshman to 16 and 6 respectively as a sophomore. She ended her senior season having led her team in scoring for a third consecutive year, averaging 17 points and 8 rebounds a contest.
One of the luxuries for Copper is that she, unlike other first round selections won’t feel that immediate pressure to produce. Similar to Natasha Cloud and Ally Malott last season, she’ll get a chance to earn a role on a deep team. Her addition gives Washington two extremely big guards in a pinch in her and Cloud, as well as Tierra Ruffin-Pratt. During her press conference at the draft, she mentioned things in her game she feels she needs to work on and there’s little doubt that she will improve in those areas.
Mike Thibault landed yet another versatile player that can impact the game on different levels, another wing that can rebound and push the ball if needed. A wing that can defend both down and up as needed (guards, wings or bigs). Kahleah will be a welcome addition to a relatively young team that looks to take another step forward this season.
In the second and third rounds, Washington selected two guards in Lia Galdeira and Danaejah Grant. Galdeira played in Bulgaria last season, averaging 24 points a contest. She played collegiately at Washington State before heading to overseas. Grant is coming out of St. Johns, both will be competing for roster spots.
The Mystics have a ton of depth and talent on their rosters in both guard positions, Washington has Ivory Latta, Bria Hartley, Kara Lawson, Tayler Hill, Natasha Cloud and that’s not counting TRP or Copper who can play some guard as well.
All in all, Washington added a player that can definitely help this season in Copper. The start of the season is less than a month away, it’ll be interesting to see what type of a role that Copper is able to earn and if Galdeira and/or Grant can make the roster.