Now that the collective bargaining agreement is signed, sealed, and delivered, the WNBA has moved on to free agency. For the New York Liberty, that means they're back to work in hopes of getting back to the playoffs for the first time since 2017.
On Monday, the team opened their free agency up by signing free agent point guard Layshia Clarendon away from the Connecticut Sun. Clarendon only played nine games for the Sun in 2019 after suffering an ankle injury in late June that required surgery.
When Clarendon last played a full season in 2018, she averaged around five points and three assists in close to 16 minutes a night as she helped the Sun make the playoffs.
Clarendon will be joining a crowded guard rotation that features 2019 number two pick Asia Durr, 2019 All Star, and likely 2020 number one pick Sabrina Ionescu. Over at Nets Republic, Justin Carter wrote about what the 2017 All Star brings to Brooklyn:
Per Synergy — and take this with a grain of salt since the sample size is small — Clarendon ranked in the 92nd percentile as a pick-and-roll ball handler. New York was already the third-most efficient team on those looks last year, with the recently-retired Tanisha Wright doing a good job leading pick-and-rolls. So, Clarendon can pretty easily slide into a role like Wright’s for New York.
What she won’t do a lot of is shoot. Clarendon just isn’t a three-point shooter. She tried at one point, taking 61 threes in 2017, but she shot 18 percent from deep that year. Don’t expect her to do a lot of off-ball spotting up behind the arc.
With even more changes likely coming to the Liberty roster, having a steady veteran hand at point will help the team move into their new era.
Off the court, Clarendon is just as impressive. As one of the Vice Presidents of WNBPA, she played a part in getting the new CBA and the various improvements located within it. She spoke to Tamryn Spurill of Zora Magazine about it recently.
She is also a strong advocate. As a survivor of sexual assault, Clarendon has used her platform to speak up for women of all identities and backgrounds. She spoke about her work and what it means to her in 2018:
“I think leaving a legacy is something I took from Tamika Catchings. You are going to break a lot of records but whatever happens on the court, how you treated people and impacted the community is what is going to leave that legacy, so that is a lot on what I focus on, basketball is like a vehicle and I want to be the best I can be but that doesn’t limit to what you do off the court. I think the old school mentality is all you have to do is care about basketball and you see this generation, we are very passionate, we are very skilled but we have other interests that we care about. There are a lot of grass-roots movements and we want to change the world for the better.”
We need people who have platforms to speak up for what's right, and a person like Clarendon will fit in well within the community in Brooklyn.