It was a surprising move when Sandy Brondello and the Phoenix Mercury mutually agreed to part ways. Fresh off a finals appearance and one of the best rosters in the WNBA, Phoenix seems like they are in a good place. Sandy Brondello will be taking over the New York Liberty. Walt Hopkins is no longer in the role after two seasons with the team. Brondello is a battle tested coach who won a championship with the Mercury and has also served as the Australian National and Olympic team head coach.
New York has the weaker roster here. Not to say they aren’t a talented team. They absolutely are and they have a very bright future head lined by former number one overall pick Sabrina Ionescu. But, the Liberty are a young team. Phoenix of course still has arguably the GOAT in Diana Taurasi, elite center Brittney Griner, and Skylar Diggins Smith among others. Sandy Brondello will probably have to take a more hands on approach as opposed to her veteran centric roster out west.
This shouldn’t be a problem for an experienced coach. After all, coaches love to teach. The good news is New York’s roster loaded with bigs. While none are true centers, Brondello will be able to draw up some plays for them like she did with Griner. If she wants to add a true center that she is familiar with, fellow Aussie Liz Cambage is a free agent.
Brondello knows how to put her players in the best position to be successful. The Liberty under Hopkins never really established a true identity. New York’s defense was among the worst in the WNBA and despite some solid offensive firepower, they still struggled. Coaching experience will be key to getting this team on track. It helps that the Liberty has Ionescu and other young stars that may be on the verge of breaking out.
Turn Back The Clock
When New York was a powerhouse team, defense and hard work is what made them successful. If they can get back to that as well as start firing on all cylinders on offense, this team will be fun to watch. It is not out of the question to say that the Liberty could contend for a playoff spot this upcoming summer. The leadership of Sandy Brondello may be what New York needs to get them over hump and back to being a solid contender.
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