September 19, 2020 

The Next WNBA postseason roundtable: Let’s review

The Next has given you our Rookie of the Year hot takes. We’ve given you our Most Valuable Player hot takes. We’ve given you our spiciest hot takes on a variety of real and not-real yet awards

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Phoenix Mercury vs. Minnesota Lynx – Game One PALMETTO, FL – SEPTEMBER 17: Diana Taurasi #3 of the Phoenix Mercury high-fives teammates during the WNBA playoffs on September 17, 2020, at Feld Entertainment Center in Palmetto, Florida. Copyright 2020 NBAE (Photo by Stephen Gosling/NBAE via GettyImages)

The Next has given you our Rookie of the Year hot takes. We’ve given you our Most Valuable Player hot takes. We’ve given you our spiciest hot takes on a variety of real and not-real yet awards. 

But now, as teams are eliminated and unceremoniously kicked out of the bubble, we bring you our postseason takes, honoring the teams that went out unceremoniously and the players that deserved better, with a couple of hot takes thrown in for good measure. 

One week into the postseason and four teams have already been eliminated, so a few epitaphs are in order. 

  1. “Here lies the Chicago Sky, they passed a lot but not the first round.”

  1. “Late in the season, the Mystics had to catch fire just to make the playoffs, and it seems fitting that the only player who could stop their run was a former Mystic, Shey Peddy.”

  1. “The Mercury lived and died by their All-Star backcourt in 2020, and so that they would fall to Minnesota because of a poor performance from Skylar Diggins-Smith and several mistakes late from her (and Diana Taurasi to a lesser extent) is no surprise, even if the game was very close and could have gone either way.”

  1. “Championship was the goal, but some injuries hit, the shooting went cold, and they fell once again to the Sun.”

With eight teams done playing, it’s clear that several players simply deserved better this season. Without further ado, The Next presents the “All-Deserved Better” team.  

(Kim Doss, our Phoenix Mercury beat writer), selected Bria Hartley. Many people disagreed with the contract the Mercury gave her. 

“After coming out and making her GM look smart by kicking ass, she fell to the injury that brings down too many female athletes: the ACL tear. She was in the running for Most Improved Player. Before becoming a starter, she might have been a lock for the sixth woman, too. She’ll have to settle for being my pick for the player the basketball gods did wrong,” Doss said. 

Our (Washington Mystics reporter Jenn Hatfield) selected several members of this team, starting with Erica Wheeler, as we never quite found out what injury or illness prevented her from ever coming to Bradenton. 

Hatfield also mentioned Arike Ogunbowale, because she deserved to be in the playoffs and fans of the game deserved to have the opportunity to watch her in the playoffs. 

“Because Arike is such a lethal scorer, people sometimes pigeonhole her into “just” a scorer, when in reality she makes her teammates better in a lot of ways. Most obviously on the stats sheet, she averaged 3.4 assists and 1.6 steals per game this season,” Hatfield added. 

Hatfield’s third nomination for this team was Julie Allemand, who she also voted for Rookie of the Year in a previous round table

“Julie Allemand deserved more than one rookie of the year vote! She was the biggest bright spot of the entire season for Indiana,” Hatfield noted. 

(Lynx writer Katie Davidson) selected Karima Christmas-Kelly, who has had her last two seasons cut short due to injury, her knee in 2019, and her Achilles tendon in 2020. 

(Brendon Kleen, our other Phoenix Mercury) reporter submitted just two words, “ASTOU NDOUR.” After a successful 2019 campaign with the Chicago Sky, Ndour was traded to the Wings where something just didn’t click. She played sparingly this season, averaging 11.6 minutes per game in the 13 games she appeared in this season. 

The final selection was mine, Theresa Plaisance. 

Between getting COVID-19 while she was playing in China, two back surgeries (she got an infection after the first one), she was slow to return to the court. When she did get back on the court, she was grieving the loss of her grandfather who was one of her biggest supporters. 

She may not have the season the Sun may have hoped for her contribution was still critical, providing an extra post player off the bench, and one that can hit threes… Plaisance not only deserved better this season but in 2020 as a whole.

An honorable mention to the All-Deserved Better team is the WNBA dogs. Hatfield noted that the dogs should have been allowed to travel to Florida with their humans.

What would a roundtable be without a could of hot takes? Not a The Next roundtable.

Davidson noted, “This will be the only season of the bubble.” 

My hot take? The Sun could go all the way this season. 

Written by Natalie Heavren

Natalie Heavren has been a contributor to The Next since February 2019 and currently writes about the Atlantic 10 conference, the WNBA and the WBL.

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