In early June, the New York Liberty shook up their roster. They traded away former first-round pick AD Durr to the Atlanta Dream in exchange for the draft rights to Raquel Carrera and Megan Walker.
Following the latter’s release from the team, they announced the return of combo guard Marine Johannes. After appearing with the Libs in 2019, she spent the last few years playing in her native France for LDLC ASVEL Féminin, a club owned by four-time NBA champion Tony Parker.
Since her return to the team, she has found a spot in the starting lineup, while helping New York win four of their last seven games. In this space we will examine her biggest impacts on the team, plus a look at how she fits in with her new teammates.
The biggest strength of Marine’s game is her ability to knock down the three-point shot. She has a lightning quick release and can score off the dribble, off the catch, or coming off screens. She leads all Liberty players in three-point percentage, and has helped to lift an offense that has struggled to consistently make shots from the outside.
According to PBP Stats, New York is making 38 percent of their triples while Johannes is on the floor. When she is on the bench, that number drops substantially.
Having a shooting threat like Johannes on the perimeter has improved the team’s spacing in the half court offense, while allowing other guards like Sabrina Ionescu to get downhill and attack the basket with more regularity.
BREAK A PLAY TO MAKE A PLAY
Along with her ability to take and make three-pointers, Johannes also displays great court vision and ball handling ability, something that New York can’t get enough of. She has a unique ability to see every inch of the floor and pass through tight windows. She has a high basketball IQ, can quickly process the defensive scheme and knows exactly where her teammates are going to be.
The fact that she ranks second on the team in assists while not primarily handling the basketball is the most impressive aspect of her playmaking skillset.
This, along with her ability to handle and break down defenders off the dribble will compliment the play of point guard Crystal Dangerfield and Ionescu very well. Having yet another playmaker to account for on the perimeter will make the New York offense that much tougher to face.
THE POWER OF THREE
A missing piece for New York during the first half of the season has been All-Star guard Betnijah Laney, who underwent knee surgery four games into the season. She is currently rehabbing and is not expected to return until late July at the earliest.
In the meantime, it will be vital for Johannes to continue to her consistent stretch of play as the Libs are surging entering the second half of the season. Since her insertion into the starting lineup, we have seen Johannes play very well alongside Dangerfield and Ionescu.
With more time on the floor together, this perimeter group could become one of the most dynamic trios in the league, as each of them bring different strengths to the table. Johannes is the sharpshooter with a creative flare to her game, Dangerfield is the steady hand at the point, and Ionescu is the do everything All-Star playmaker.
As the push for the playoffs begin, New York is starting to find more consistency, and the newest addition to the seafoam squad has a lot to do with that.