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WNBA Draft 2017 Preview: New York Liberty

2016 Record:
21-13 (1st in Eastern Conference); lost to Phoenix Mercury in the second round

Key Offseason Moves:
Re-signed Sugar Rodgers and Rebecca Allen
Traded Carolyn Swords, acquired Bria Hartley & Kia Vaughn

Last Year’s Draft Picks:
1st round/12th overall: Adut Bulgak
2nd round/24th overall: Ameryst Alston
3rd round/36th overall: Shacobia Barbee

This Year’s Draft Picks:
2nd round/14th overall
3rd round/34th overall

New York Liberty’s Top 2016 Plays

Team Needs:

The Liberty finished last season with the best record in the Eastern Conference for the second straight year, and star forward Tina Charles became just the third player in WNBA history to lead the league in both scoring and rebounding. Behind the stellar play of Charles — the eventual MVP runner-up — New York earned a first-round bye in the WNBA’s new playoff format but faced a matchup against the then red-hot Phoenix Mercury. Phoenix stormed into MSG and sent the Liberty home early with a 101-94 win.

They now enter the 2017 season locked and loaded with most of last year’s squad returning. The one hole the team will have to fill is the void left inside by Carolyn Swords. Swords was the team’s starting center and her 4.6 rebounds per game were the third most on the squad. Newly acquired veteran Kia Vaughn will have to step into the fold to make an immediate impact in the paint. Hartley, a former first-round pick, is an intriguing candidate to earn minutes in the backcourt.

With their draft picks, look for them to add a proven scorer who can stuff the stat sheet in a number of ways, and learn under the tutelage of Bill Laimbeer and his coaching staff. Whatever rookies find themselves in the Big Apple, they won’t be asked to carry a heavy load but could a part of something truly special.