With a clear vision at the point guard position, the Liberty move on from the last guard of the Laimbeer era
After a complete roster overhaul between the trade of Tina Charles and the arrival of seven new Liberty players in the 2020 WNBA Draft, New York has waived point guard Brittany Boyd. Her release comes at a time when Liberty GM and Jonathan Kolb and freshman head coach Walt Hopkins have drafted a generational point guard in rookie Sabrina Ionescu and signed a on-floor assistant coach and vocal leader in Layshia Clarendon.
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“Brittany has been a valuable member of the Liberty for the past five seasons,” Kolb said in a Tuesday press release. “However, we are going in a different direction at her position and wanted to give her ample time to pursue other opportunities across the league. We wish her nothing but the best.”
In 2019, Boyd finished 10th overall in assists among WNBA players averaging 4.6 per game. Her assist ratio and assist percentage were ranked a respective fourth and third overall. But turnovers remained a problem. In 2019, she and former teammate Tanisha Wright finished the season with the top two highest turnover rates league-wide.
Her strengths, however, consisted of her quick feet and ability to set tempo and find her teammates. She established a knack for swiping the ball as well, finishing in the league top-10 twice for total steals in a season.
While she drove to the basket and leaped over more longitudinal defenders, and established a floater in the paint, shooting from long range never eclipsed 37 percent. Her overall field goal percentage dipped from 41 percent in 2018 to a bit over 39 percent in 2019.
But off the court might have been where Boyd truly shined for the Liberty. I’ll never forget watching her interact with a young child named Aiden who was recovering at the Hospital for Special Surgery. Her openness to discuss her own history with civic engagement and activism won’t be forgotten either.
She also was a positive locker room presence for the Liberty as her friendship with the 20-year-old Han Xu was a joy to watch. And clearly she will be missed by Amand Zahui B., a teammate of four years. Apparently Boyd always checked in with her teammates.
With a crowded training camp, what’s next?
In terms of what’s next for Boyd, who knows. Waiving her now gives the former Cal Bear some time to try to figure out her next steps. Training camps across the league will be uber-competitive and more so than usual with the indefinite stoppage of overseas leagues.
And that includes the Liberty’s draft picks. Excluding Ionescu (who will most likely have no issue making the roster), Jonathan Kolb and Walt Hopkins spoke highly of the new crop: ninth overall pick Megan Walker, Jocelyn Willoughby (who they targeted specifically) and the pair of Cardinals in Kylee Shook and Jazmine Jones. Leaonna Odom’s vertical leap and potential to rim protect also stood out for the Liberty.
Eight roster spots appear locked in: Rebecca Allen, Clarendon, Asia Durr, Ionescu (duh), Marine Johannés, Kia Nurse, Han and Zahui B. Who takes the remaining four spots? Kolb could attempt to buy out Tayler Hill, who was acquired in the Tina Charles trade, and Kiah Stokes, another leftover (excluding Allen and Zahui) from the Laimbeer era.
Where does this leave Reshanda Gray who made an impression for New York in 2019? The Liberty signed her to a training camp deal on March 11th. And what about Stephanie Talbot, who is familiar with both Hopkins, assistant coach Shelley Patterson and Allen? Both provide veteran options for the final roster.
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