WNBA: New York Liberty enter first season of Breanna Stewart period

The New York Liberty made waves this offseason by assembling a group crammed to the brim with All-Stars. It’s been a rocky few years for the Liberty, however new workers, an enormous funding in participant well being and amenities and a brand new coach all made them the premier free company vacation spot this winter. Now, with a few of the greatest odds within the league and a beginning lineup full of a number of former MVPs, champions and All-Stars — the Liberty are able to rock New York.

This new period of New York basketball within the WNBA began when Sabrina Ionescu was drafted first total within the 2020 draft. After struggling accidents in her first few seasons, the 2022 season was the primary time followers actually started to see all that Ionescu is able to and the Liberty just lately signed her to an extension— however she will’t do it alone. The primary huge offseason win for this franchise was the acquisition of former MVP Jonquel Jones from the Connecticut Solar. Jones requested a commerce from the Solar after the group fell brief lately regardless of being favorites to win all of it.

That in itself was an enormous deal for the Liberty’s possibilities, however the enjoyable occasions simply stored on coming. The most important identify in free company speak was Breanna Stewart: former MVP, All-Star, WNBA champ, EuroLeague champ, 4x NCAA Champ, the checklist goes on and on. She’s a generational expertise, and after successful two championships with the Seattle Storm, rumors have been buzzing that Stewie was prepared for change. Prior to now few years she acquired married and welcomed her first youngster (with quantity two now on the way in which!) and lots of mentioned she wished to maneuver nearer to her residence state of New York. With Sue Chicken retired and her contract up, it was the right time, and after weeks of on-line teasing she introduced she’d be coming to the Liberty.

The final piece of the puzzle got here when one other huge free agent, Courtney Vandersloot, determined to make New York the subsequent cease in her profession. A champion level guard with the Chicago Sky, Vandersloot’s expertise and flooring route have been the final issues the Liberty wanted to formally launch into the tremendous group universe. With the large names assembled and a pool of younger expertise signed, the group headed into coaching camp.

It was not essentially the most flashy coaching camp for the group. Vandersloot suffered a head harm on her first day, Stewart couldn’t make it till a couple of week into camp after successful a championship in Europe and the group misplaced their final preseason recreation to their new tremendous group rival, the Las Vegas Aces. But, there is no such thing as a motive to fret about this squad. Coaching camp is extraordinarily brief, they usually aren’t competing for a championship tomorrow — there’s time to construct the group chemistry.

Vandersloot is predicted to be prepared for opening evening and Ionescu “shocked Coach (Sandy) Brondello essentially the most” in camp, in response to the group’s coach-only press convention. Stewie and Vandersloot simply gained a championship within the Turkish league collectively; that chemistry will certainly carry over into the WNBA season. Many of those gamers have performed collectively on different groups, in faculty, or in USA basketball camps and competitions. It shouldn’t be exhausting to place the items collectively over the primary few weeks of the season, and these gamers could be trusted.

So is it championship or bust for this squad? When requested in media day, the gamers, coaches and entrance workplace appeared to have the identical sorts of solutions. They should win every day, take it day-by-day, and never take into consideration something however the current second. The WNBA Finals will not be in the present day. For now, they should deal with successful video games and staying wholesome.

Which is helped by their first-class amenities and the dedication the group has to the gamers. There’s a motive each the Liberty and Aces have been sizzling spots at no cost brokers this season — their apply amenities, facilities and therapy are top-tier. Stewart talked about it as a part of her media day press convention, and Liberty common supervisor Jonathan Kolb mentioned he desires New York to “set the usual” for the remainder of the league. When gamers are taken care of, they’ll carry out higher, and that’s precisely what’s going to occur for the Liberty this season.

It’s exhausting to match the Liberty this 12 months to the Liberty even simply final 12 months with all these enormous strikes and new faces. They improved quite a bit final season, ending seventh total within the league and making the playoffs with a document of 16-20. With a rise of video games this upcoming season, the expertise of the roster boosted and no solution to examine this first-of-its-kind lineup to anything in WNBA historical past — this Liberty group is an experiment. The speculation appears fairly good for them, so anticipate the group to have a really completely different consequence this season even in comparison with final 12 months, even when they don’t find yourself successful the entire thing. One factor is fore certain — this franchise has a brilliant future.

It’s a season filled with expectation for the Liberty, which might usually add a number of stress. For different groups, this may increasingly pose a menace, however for these vets it will likely be tremendous. Whereas followers of the group could not acknowledge the roster compared to the final couple of years, they need to be glad to be launched to the highest of all projections/odds lists/energy rankings. Plus, the youthful spirit of the Liberty group we’ve cherished over the previous couple years continues to be there, and the group could also be as hungry as ever to succeed.

Get able to get loud New York followers, it’s going to be an excellent season!