2013 WNBA Season Previews: New York Liberty

 

PG: Cappie Pondexter/Leilani Mitchell

SG: Essence Carson/Kamiko Williams

SF: Katie Smith/Alex Montgomery

PF: Plenette Pierson/Toni Young

C: Cheryl Ford/Kelsey Bone/Kara Braxton

 

Significant gains: Cheryl Ford, Katie Smith, Kelsey Bone, Toni Young, and Bill Laimbeer on the sidelines.

Significant losses: Nicole Powell, Kia Vaughn.

 

New York weren’t a bad team for the last two years under John Whisenant. Well okay, they were pretty poor for much of last season, but they were decent in 2011. However, they had become pretty painful to watch, with the ‘white line’ defense that the players never seemed to enjoy, and a bedraggled offense that relied on Cappie Pondexter to do virtually everything. Combined with the exile to New Jersey caused by renovations to Madison Square Garden, it led to a distinct lack of interest and excitement among what remained of the Liberty fanbase. So the franchise made a change. Out went Whiz, and Bill Laimbeer was tempted back into the WNBA fold as the potential saviour. Then Evil Bill quickly started reshaping his roster.

 

The initial moves led to a lot of jokes about ‘getting the band back together’, as Laimbeer acquired various pieces he was familiar with from his days in Detroit. Plenette Pierson (a key sixth woman on those Shock teams, and New York’s best post player for the last couple of seasons) and Kara Braxton (a talented yet wildly inconsistent center for her entire career) were both already on the roster. Laimbeer added Katie Smith as a free agent from Seattle, and tempted Cheryl Ford back into the WNBA for the first time since 2009. He also acquired the rights to Deanna Nolan from Tulsa, but she won’t be playing in the US until at least 2014. Smith isn’t the player she used to be, but she’s still smart, physical and knows all the tricks. She’ll help show her younger teammates exactly what Laimbeer expects from his players. Ford has been playing in Europe, and been very productive doing what she’s always done – fill the paint, and grab every rebound in sight. She won’t be quite the interior beast that she was in her younger days, but she can still be a significant contributor. The fear with Ford will always be whether her body can hold up under the rigors of the WNBA grind, playing an average of three games a week against top competition. Laimbeer will have to look after her and manage her minutes. Continue reading

Advertisements

2012 In-Depth WNBA Season Preview: New York Liberty

PG: Kelly Miller/Leilani Mitchell

SG: Cappie Pondexter/Essence Carson

SF: Nicole Powell/Alex Montgomery

PF: Plenette Pierson/DeMya Walker

C: Kia Vaughn/Kara Braxton/Kelley Cain/(Quanitra Hollingsworth)

Significant additions: Miller (free agency from Washington), Walker (free agency from Washington), Cain (college draft)

Significant losses: Hollingsworth (with Turkish National Team for Olympic training and qualifiers), Ta’Shia Phillips and Sydney Colson are gone as well (if you want to stretch ‘significant’)

—–

You’ve gotta love Liberty fans. A bizarre draft pick (in a draft everyone said was horrible), and a couple of poor performances in preseason (for a coach whose system is notoriously hard to adapt to) and the sky is falling. Admittedly, dropping into the lottery is a lot more appealing this year than in most seasons. But it’s a little early to give up on a team that went 19-15 last season – while learning Whisenant’s system – and brings back pretty much every significant part of that team. In an Eastern Conference where it’ll be a surprise if anyone runs away, they still have every chance to be competitive. And as with every other season, when Cappie Pondexter’s on your team you’ve got a shot to win any game you show up for. Continue reading

WNBA Offseason Overview/Preseason Preview: New York Liberty

Current roster certainties and virtual certainties:

PG: Kelly Miller/Leilani Mitchell

SG: Cappie Pondexter/Essence Carson

SF: Nicole Powell/Alex Montgomery

PF: Plenette Pierson/(Quanitra Hollingsworth)

C: Kia Vaughn/Kara Braxton

Fighting for the remaining one or two spots: DeMya Walker, Kelley Cain, Raffaella Masciadri, Sydney Colson, various other people the Libs haven’t bothered to tell anyone about.

———-

It was pretty quiet for the Liberty and their fans through most of the offseason. They re-signed Leilani Mitchell and added veteran Kelly Miller to help her at the point, which should keep Cappie Pondexter at shooting guard a little more consistently this season (although “Cappie, do something” will likely still be the solitary crunch-time play). They also eventually re-signed key backup Essence Carson, although it took a while and some of the fans were becoming a little nervous.

Then everything got a little weird. Continue reading

WNBAlien 2011 Previews: New York Liberty

PG: Leilani Mitchell/Sydney Colson/(lots of Cappie)

SG: Cappie Pondexter/Essence Carson

SF: Nicole Powell/Alex Montgomery/Sidney Spencer

PF: Plenette Pierson/Jessica Breland

C: Kia Vaughn/Quanitra Hollingsworth/is there anyone in the stands with two X chromosomes over 6-3?

—–

Head coach: John Whisenant

Significant additions: Whiz, and a bunch of projects.

Significant losses: Taj McWilliams-Franklin, Janel McCarville, and Kalana Greene(ish). Oh, and their arena.

—–

My, oh my, oh my. Remember how last year the argument for Cappie as MVP centered around “look at her teammates! She’s doing it on her own!”? Well if you’re looking for a silver lining, Cappie’s MVP argument could be even stronger this season. Continue reading