Ariel Atkins signs multi-year contract extension with Washington Mystics

Ariel Atkins signs multi-year extension with Mystics originally appeared on NBC Sports Washington

Ariel Atkins and the Washington Mystics have agreed to a multi-year extension that will keep the guard in D.C. beyond the 2022 season. 

The deal is reportedly two-years for $345,000, according to Rachel Galligan of Winsidr. Team policy is not to publicly disclose the details of contracts. 

Atkins was set to be a free agent after this upcoming season. Drafted seventh overall in the 2018 WNBA Draft, her rookie contract was set to expire in 2022 after the Mystics took advantage of the team-option for this year. Ever since she became a Mystic, Atkins has played a vital part in the team’s success over the last three seasons. 

“Ariel has been a great contributor to our success from the time she stepped on the court her rookie year,” head coach and general manager Mike Thibault said in a statement. “Her growth as a player and a leader over her first three seasons has been important to our growth as a team. Her leadership on and off the court during last summer’s trying season was impressive and we are excited to watch her continued improvement as a player over the next several years. Ariel is an excellent role model and representative of the Mystics in the D.C. community and this is an important next step forward for us.”

Aside from five games off the bench her rookie season, the 24-year-old has started in every game she’s played in the WNBA. Every year she has been honored by the WNBA on an All-Defensive Team. She is also a member of the U.S. National Team program and player pool.

Atkins was a vital part of the team’s makeup when they made back-to-back WNBA Finals appearances. During the team’s championship run in 2019, Atkins was the youthful piece alongside a slew of stars.

This past season was statistically the best of her young career. As several key players were missing due to injuries and coronavirus concerns, Atkins stepped up in a huge way in 2020. She was second in the team in scoring (14.8 ppg), which was a career-best. Other career marks were set in rebounding (2.9 rpg), assists (2.4 apg), steals (1.8 spg) and all shooting figures which included a 41.3% mark from 3-point range. 

On top her on-the-court accomplishments, she became the face of the team during their fight for social justice in the WNBA bubble. All of a sudden, she was the seasoned veteran thrust into the spotlight. 

“Coach [Thibault], everyone in the Mystics organization, and Monumental Sports & Entertainment as a whole have given me every opportunity to grow,” Atkins said in a statement. “I also get to play in front of the most passionate and electrifying fans in the WNBA. I believe in what we do here, that’s why I signed an extension with the Mystics.”

Atkins becomes the first player besides two-time MVP Elena Delle Donne to commit to the Mystics beyond the 2022 season. 

This article was written by WTOP’s news partner, NBC Sports Washington. Sign up for NBC Sports Washington’s free email subscription today.

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