The Superteam Era in New York Has Officially Begun


No WNBA franchise improved their roster more this offseason than the New York Liberty.

With the additions of superstars Jonquel Jones, Breanna Stewart and Courtney Vandersloot, the seafoam squad has quickly become a championship favorite.

But how did they arrive at this moment? What will this new superteam bring to the table? In this space we will attempt to answer those questions and give you a look ahead to what could be the greatest season in franchise history.


It was just three short years ago that the Liberty found themselves selecting with the first overall pick in the 2020 WNBA Draft.

In desperate need of a fresh face to turn things around, they used that pick to select Oregon superstar guard Sabrina Ionescu. During the shortened ‘Wubble’ season, Ionescu played just three games as a rookie due to an ankle injury and New York finished with the worst record in the league at 2-20.


As Ionescu spent time rehabbing from her injury, the Liberty focused on overhauling their roster entering the 2021 season, adding veteran players like Betnijah Laney and Sami Whitcomb. The new-look Libs won 12 games and advanced to the first round of the playoffs where they fell to eventual runner-up Phoenix.

Despite the team’s improvement, the organization decided to make a change at head coach following the season, replacing Walt Hopkins with Sandy Brondello. The latter coached Phoenix for eight seasons from 2014-2021, winning one championship.

Following a rough start to the season, the Libs turned things around, winning 16 games— the most since 2017. In addition, they made the playoffs for the second-consecutive season, falling to defending-champion Chicago in the first round.

The highlight of 2022 was Ionescu’s breakout as one of the WNBA’s best players. Playing in all 36 games, she averaged 17.4 points, 7.1 rebounds and 6.3 assists per game, earning herself All-WNBA Second Team honors and was named an All-Star for the first time.


As the team has improved over the last few years, so have the prospects of acquiring top talent looking for a destination stop. With a good core of talent in place, owner Joe Tsai, general manager Jonathan Kolb and coach Brondello set out to build a superteam this offseason.

Phase one of this plan came to fruition in mid-January, as the Liberty, Connecticut Sun and Dallas Wings made a blockbuster three-team trade that sent Jones from Connecticut to New York. To acquire the 2021 WNBA MVP, the team sent Natasha Howard and Crystal Dangerfield to the Wings, while moving Rebecca Allen and the No. 6 pick in the 2023 draft to Connecticut. The Liberty also received Kayla Thornton from Dallas in the deal.

The addition of Jones alone would have vaulted the Liberty into the championship conversation, but the brain trust in New York was not done yet. On February 1st, Stewart announced she was signing with the Liberty after a seven-year stint with the Seattle Storm. During her time in the Emerald City, Stewart won two championships, two Finals MVP awards, a league MVP award and a slew of other accolades.

The following day, Vandersloot signed on, completing a trifecta of splash moves. Prior to joining New York, Vandersloot spent twelve seasons with the Chicago Sky. During her time there, she was named an All-Star four times, led the league in assists six times, and won a title in 2021.


According to Odds Shark, New York has the second-best odds to win the WNBA title, trailing the defending-champion Las Vegas Aces, the WNBA’s other current superteam.

With Vandersloot running the point, she brings consistent scoring and her trademark passing wizardry to the lead guard spot. This will allow Ionescu to slide over to the shooting-guard position, where she can take more shots and display her all-around game. This formula worked beautifully last season when Dangerfield took over point-guard duties and Ionescu played off the ball. Her efficiency and consistency immediately soared.

Laney will hold down the wing spot. She is great at attacking the basket, passing and shooting. These skills will be invaluable to the pace and space offense Brondello likes to run. Stewart is the most versatile forward in the game. Her ability to hit midrange and three-point jumpers at 6’4″ is virtually unstoppable. Last but certainly not least, Jones is the epitome of a modern big. She is strong enough to post-up and score inside, and versatile enough to step out and be a perimeter threat.

With a combination of supreme talent, great coaching and championship experience, the Liberty just might be hoisting the trophy at the end of the season.


About Hamilton Neill

    Recommended for you

    Powered by themekiller.com