New York Liberty Draft For Need This Time Around
The 2016 WNBA Draft will hopefully be as kind to the New York Liberty as it was last year when they got Kiah Stokes and Brittany Boyd. Those two players contributed mightily to last year’s success. However this time around it was more of a mixed bag with their three picks.
The retirement of Candice Wiggins and the loss of Essence Carson to free-agency left holes in their bench.
The Liberty went out with the intent of filling those gaps with equally capable, yet younger players. “This was a draft where we set out to address needs,” explained Head Coach Bill Laimbeer. They started with the twelfth pick and looked to the 6’4” Florida State center Adut Bulgak from Kenya for depth. She is the one the Liberty will look to be the most athletic and ready.
“Adut gives us something we don’t have – a potential stretch four,” Laimbeer assessed. “We want to be able to pick up the pace. She can get out and run with Brittney Boyd, and is quietly physical for her stature.”
The twenty-fourth selection landed them Ameryst Alston in the second round. Alston was a need position pick. The Ohio State University guard was one of the most accomplished scorers in their history after completing four years.. As a First-Team All-Big Ten honoree on three occasions as well as an AP Honorable mention, she seems to fit the bill.
“We were looking for a guard and Ameryst is going to compete for an opportunity to make our team,” Laimbeer noted.
The final pick at number 36, in round three, was Shacobia Barbee, a 5-10 guard/forward from Georgia. She was an All-SEC player until she broke her leg, thus shortening her season. The pick seems worth the risk when she returns to health. The Liberty are not certain whether she can be on the court in 2016 but are looking long-term in her case.
“We really look at her as a good player for our future,” Laimbeer admitted.
So it’s not clear whether this year’s crop will build on what New York got last year. There is potential for the first two, especially Bulgak to play significant minutes. The competition for rookies to attain a spot on the Liberty roster will take some doing this time around and competition is a good thing provided there is a lot of talent to burn.
The Liberty are, if nothing else, getting more talented with each passing year.
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