When you're competing for a championship, you need everything to break right. Great talent tends to win the day, but you also need chemistry, sweat equity, and chemistry. When you have all the ingredients, you can start cooking. It also helps when you have one of the most electric players in the game of basketball!
Marine Johannes returned to the WNBA in 2022 after not playing in the league during the COVID-19 pandemic. With Johannes coming off the bench, she provided an immediate boost to the Liberty as her passing created a ton of fantastic looks for her teammates and had fans at Barclays Center and at home in total awe
The great thing about Johannes’ passing is there are probably about 30 other mesmerizing passes we could’ve included here as well!
Not to be outdone, she shot 43.7 percent from 3-point range on a high volume (tenth in the WNBA in threes attempted per game) and was able to space the floor, make big time plays in the clutch, and provide a jolt of energy coming off the bench
Johannes is also a player that can create her own shot, and that proved to be another vital aspect of the Liberty’s playoff push down the stretch. When she had the ball in her hands, something good was usually bound to happen.
Back in June, I spoke with MJ at practice and asked her what helped her maintain her rhythm on the court:
“I think the team, the coach, and the players. They really help me with my play on the court and everything else. I feel like they trust me, so it’s made me more confident in my game. So I was feeling good, and I still feel good.”
Johannes was one of the best aspects of a good Liberty 2022 campaign, and was someone fans were eager to watch in 2023. And on Thursday afternoon, everyone got their wish as the team announced MJ would be returning this season
Richard Cohen of Her Hoop Stats came through with the contract details
Official site's Transactions page agrees that Johannes signed a Training Camp Contract (that's what a reserved qualifying offer becomes when it's signed). So that's one year, unprotected, at the minimum of $62,285. #WNBA https://t.co/UQZ52wq2FB— Richard Cohen (@RichardCohen1) March 3, 2023
Currently, Johannes is playing with Lyon Asvel Feminin in France. Myles Ehrlich of Winsidr and Nets Republic/The Local W noted that the French playoffs will start in late April and Eurobasket will occur in mid to late June.
With Johannes, the Liberty will have an absolutely fantastic backcourt. With Courtney Vandersloot, Sabrina Ionescu, and Betnijah Laney in the starting five, MJ will be coming off the bench for Sandy Brondello’s club. She will be joined by one of the other new Liberty acquisitions, Kayla Thornton, and Didi Richards. The Liberty’s depth will give them time to withstand a possible early season absence by Johannes if she’s still in France.
Johannes playing with Breanna Stewart and Jonquel Jones promises to be incredible. Jones and Stewart can score all over the court and with Johannes able to make passes from anywhere on the court, they will get plenty of easy baskets thanks to her. The Liberty have built a great roster this winter, and with the players left from last season still here, have a chance to hit the ground running alongside their new teammates.
While we wait for the season, here’s some more MJ to pass the time
✨ MJ skills just hit different ✨@MarineJ5 dancing with the defense #EuroCupWomen | @ASVEL_Feminin pic.twitter.com/JOhqO4EUJD— EuroCup Women (@EuroCupWomen) January 12, 2023