Emma Meesseman could not have picked a worse year to have off from the WNBA.
By Matt Hallett
As we all know, the WNBA suffers at times due to national commitments. The season falls in a time where squads are qualifying for events. Sometimes, like in 2016, the season stops during the Olympics.
Usually there are a few players each year who take time off their club commitments to represent their country. The pay in the WNBA is not enough to keep them in America for the season.
This season, the Washington Mystics are going to be without the service of arguably their second best player, Emma Meesseman. From a club and a fan point of view, this is the worst time Meesseman could have taken off.
Don't get me wrong, I am not upset at her for wanting to represent her country, there is great honor in that. It is just a shame she is going to be missing what will probably go down as the most intense and competitive season in the history of the WNBA.
Last years champions the Minnesota Lynx have suffered a few free agent moves but as usual the organisation are finding talent to replace those losses.
Last years runners up, the Los Angeles Sparks, have bought back all the core pieces which made them so dangerous last year.
The Connecticut Sun have bought back all of their core pieces and then gone and added more to make them my favorite to take out the whole competition come playoff time.
Add to this, the Atlanta Dream have put together one of the best front courts to complement their already strong back court and you see why I say this season is going to be intense.
The Dallas Wings are probably leading the next tier of competition, moved there when they signed Australian Liz Cambage.
The Seattle Storm are always going to be strong with their core and the Indiana Fever will surprise more than a few people with how they will go.
The problem is, the Washington Mystics could have been in the top tier of the competition if Meesseman had of been playing this year. They have the core of last seasons's team back which includes Elena Delle Donne, Tayler Hill, Kristi Tolliver and Krystal Thomas.
They then added Monique Currie as a free agent meaning they would be able to take it to any team, with Meesseman playing. Without Meesseman, the Mystics are missing 1.5 blocks, 5.7 rebounds, 2.7 assists and 13.8 points per game.
Not only are they missing the stats, Meesseman takes enormous pressure of team super star Delle Donne. Delle Donne and Meesseman, along with Thomas, are an extremely tall front court who can shoot. Without Meesseman, the match-up difficulties are much fewer.
Meesseman also stepped up and played a huge role when Delle Donne was out injured last season. If Delle Donne gets hurt this year, expect Washington to lose most games she is out.
It is a shame that the Mystics are going to be without Meesseman this year. If Hill had not been injured last year, they may have gone all the way to a championship. This year they will be without Meesseman in a year where all teams are going to need their best players playing to have a chance.
Maybe next year will be Washington's year.