As the saying goes, good things come in threes. The Los Angeles Sparks (25-9) are focusing towards making their third consecutive trip to the Finals. They are also looking for their second championship in three years.
After re-signing 2017 Defensive Player of the Year Alana Beard, Odyssey Sims and Tiffany Jackson-Jones, the Sparks have no intention of moving down the WNBA pecking order this year. Returning talent includes their franchise frontcourt duo of Candace Parker, Nneka Ogwumike and guard Chelsea Gray.
In addition to an already stacked roster, Los Angeles also signed free agent guard Cappie Pondexter, who played for the Sky last season. Pondexter, who ranks fourth in WNBA history for scoring average (19.2), has completed 12 seasons in the WNBA and was the 2007 WNBA Finals MVP.
The Sparks are also bringing back Serbian national Ana Dabovic who played on the 2016 championship team and British free agent guard Karlie Samuelson.
With multiplying experience on the roster along with a variety of talent on the floor (and bench) adding a top draft pick is essentially a bonus. The perimeter has been dominated by the lethal duo of Gray and Sims at post, however L.A. made the fewest 3-pointers of any playoff team last season at 5.3 per game. Another shooter on the list would put less focus on the primary contributions from Gray and Sims.
Offensive Rating: 107.1 (2nd)
Defensive Rating: 96.4 (2nd)
Pace: 92.9 (7th)
The good - Instead of just saying “everything,” I’ll focus on one player. Candace Parker has turned into a reliable three point shooter for L.A. in the last two seasons. She made a career high 45 threes last year while shooting 35.4 percent from deep. Sure, these aren’t elite numbers, but Parker didn’t really shoot much from three or was that efficient from there until recently.
The bad - There isn’t too much to complain about with the Sparks, but Riquna Williams was woefully inefficient for them off the bench. She averaged a career low 6.4 points a game while shooting 32 percent from the field and 27 percent from three.
The Sparks’ draft picks and what they could do
This year’s draft picks include the 1st round/No. 11 overall, 2nd round/No. 23 overall, and 3rd Round/No. 35 overall picks.
Any draftees that find themselves in L.A. could very likely be a part of another championship run. However, playing time could be hard to come by, because the roster is more or less set. In short, the draft picks better come to training camp ready to play. As the saying goes, you never know when your number’s called.