New York Liberty Draft Preview

After an off-season full of change for the New York Liberty, the dynamic brilliance of Cappie Pondexter remains.
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First 3 Selections in 2013
  • No. 5 overall
  • No. 7 overall
  • No. 15 overall

  • Last 3 First Round Picks (Pick, Year)
  • Kelly Cain (7, 2012)
  • Alex Montgomery (10, 2011)
  • Kia Vaughn (8, 2009)

  • Strengths
  • Veteran Leadership
  • Coaching
  • Cappie Pondexter


  • Areas of Improvement
  • Scoring
  • Rebounding
  • Depth


  • Overview

    From the moment the New York Liberty bowed out of last year's playoffs, succumbing to 2012 WNBA MVP Tina Charles and the Connecticut Sun, you could feel the winds of change approaching. The Liberty made a spirited second-half run after the 2012 London Olympic break to edge the Chicago Sky for the final Eastern Conference playoff spot but just making the playoffs is not enough for New York and it's boisterous, sophisticated, but demanding fans.

    Fortunately for those fans, superstar guard Cappie Pondexter pledged her allegiance to the cause of bringing a championship to New York just ten minutes after the Liberty fell to the Sun, calmly and quieting stating, "I know there will be some changes here, there has to be, because we didn't reach our goal of winning a championship," said Pondexter. "But I signed here so I could be a part of that -- bringing a championship to New York -- and I'm looking forward fighting for that goal with the Liberty next year."

    Fast forward a few months and New York did make some big changes, highlighted by bringing in proven winner Bill Laimbeer as GM/Head Coach. Laimbeer won a NBA title with the Detroit Pistons and later took to the bench to win three WNBA crowns with the Detroit Shock. Perhaps not coincidentally, two of Laimbeer's former Shock players, Katie Smith and Cheryl Ford, are now on the Liberty roster, and the rights to Deanna Nolan, another former Shock WNBA titleholder who thrived under the tutelage of Laimbeer, have been acquired by New York. Going the other way, Kia Vaughn moved on to Washington and Nicole Powell was routed to Tulsa.

    That brings us to the upcoming 2013 WNBA Draft, which features three of the top prospects in recent memory, Baylor's Brittney Griner, Notre Dame's Skylar Diggins and Delaware's Elena Delle Donne. New York drafts 5th and 7th overall on April 15 at ESPN Headquarters in Bristol, Connecticut, which are two high picks, but likely not high enough to grab one of those three potential blue-chippers.

    "Picks one through three are not going to change. Those teams are very excited about acquiring those players and they will not trade them," said Laimbeer in a fan chat on NYLiberty.com. "We will take the best player available at picks five and seven. It doesn't matter if they're a post player, a wing or a point guard. As far as who we are watching, it's the usual suspects: Hawkins, Hill, Faris, Bentley and others. You always want youth, not only for the energy, but for your future. These two rookies will get a great education from the championship veterans that we have on the roster."

    The usual suspects Laimbeer refers to are four players who are thought to be among the next group of picks after the Griner-Diggins-Delle Donne Big Three. Tianna Hawkins is a forward out of Maryland, Tayler Hill is a guard from Ohio State, Kelly Faris is a guard at UConn and Alex Bentley is a guard from Penn State.

    According to Laimbeer adding two of these players, or perhaps one the cagey Coach is keeping close to his vest until Draft Day, will go a long way toward getting New York among the upper echelon of WNBA teams.

    "Anytime a team doesn’t win the championship, you must assess where the team is at and decide to stay the course or make significant changes.I felt significant changes were need," said Laimbeer. "I think we have a great start here and adding quality draft picks should give us an opportunity to compete."

    DRAFT HISTORY
    2012 (top 3 picks)
    7. Kelly Cain
    36. Katelan Redmon
    N/A

    2011
    10. Alex Montgomery
    22. Angel Robinson
    34. Mekia Valentine

    2010
    13. Kalana Greene
    16. Ashley Houts
    25. Cory Montgomery
    2012 LEADERS
    Scoring
    1. Cappie Pondexter (20.4)
    2. Plenette Pierson (12.0)
    3. Essence Carson (11.6)

    Rebounding
    1. Plenette Pierson (5.4)
    2. Kia Vaughn (5.0)
    3. Cappie Pondexter (4.5))

    Assists
    1. Cappie Pondexter (4.3)
    2. Leilani Mitchell (3.0)
    3. Plenette Pierson (2.3)