The New York Liberty re-signed Kia Vaughn which keeps them relevant
By Matt Hallett
Thanks to a tumultuous off-season, the New York Liberty were not able to go out and sign new talent. Instead, they did the next best thing, making sure they re-signed the core of their 2017 team.
In a year where the league is going to get exponentially better, the Liberty seem like they are treading water. However, Kia Vaughn re-signing is going to allow coach Katie Smith to refine last year, continuing to build on the proud New York team.
Any team with perennial MVP candidate Tina Charles needs to be taken seriously. However, as basketball is a team sport, who the Liberty surround their superstar with is equally important.
Where Vaughn is important for this Liberty team is in her rebounding. Vaughn was 25 in the league last year with 4.9 rebounds per game. This is a respectable number. However, it is Vaughn's ability to be there for the offensive rebound which really helps this Liberty team.
In 2017 Vaughn collected 1.9 offensive rebounds per game which was good enough for ninth in the league. Charles was eighth in the league with 2.0 offensive rebounds per game. Kiah Stokes was sixth with 2.3 per game These three New York bigs allowed the Liberty an extra six attempts at a basket per game.
In a competitive league like the WNBA, this can be crucial to winning games. This season look for Vaughn to continue this output as she is 49th all-time in offensive rebounding with 421 for her career. At her current rate, Vaughn will be top 40 by the end of the year.
These rebounds allow Vaughn to shoot a high percentage from the field. Her 53.6 percent last season was the highest of her career. Unfortunately, her 58.3 percent from the line was the second lowest.
For the Liberty to stay competitive and relevant in the improved WNBA, Vaughn is going to need to improve this number. every point is going to count for the Liberty.