2017 Record: 26-8, No. 2 seed in Playoffs, Lost to Lynx in WNBA Finals
Key Offseason Moves:
- Re-signed Alana Beard, Odyssey Sims and Tiffany Jackson-Jones
- Signed free agents Cappie Pondexter, Ana Dabovic and Karlie Samuelson
- Signed free agents Jolene Anderson and Saicha Grant-Allen to training camp contracts
Last Year’s Draft Picks:
- 1st Round/No. 11 Overall – Sydney Wiese (from LA via Dallas)
- 3rd Round/No. 35 Overall – Saicha Grant-Allen
This Year’s Draft Picks:
- 1st Round/No. 11 Overall
- 2nd Round/No. 23 Overall
- 3rd Round/No. 35 Overall
2017 Season Highlights:
Team Needs/Draft Strategy:
The Sparks are coming off their second straight trip to the Finals, and while they were not able to defend their 2016 title last season, all signs point to L.A. being one of the favorites to get back to the championship again in 2018.
The Sparks are loaded with talent, led by the MVP duo of Candace Parker (2008, 2013) and Nneka Ogwumike (2016) on the frontline and Chelsea Gray, Odyssey Sims, and Defensive Player of the Year Alana Beard in the backcourt. The Sparks added to depth, experience and a scoring touch to this unit unit by bringing in Cappie Pondexter, who ranks fourth in WNBA history for scoring average (19.2) and has championship experience on her resume (titles in 2007 and 2009; 2007 Finals MVP).
L.A. took care of its top priority this offseason by keeping its core together in resigning Beard and Sims. A team that has been to the Finals back-to-back years does not have many holes in its lineup, so when it comes to the draft on April 12, the Sparks can look for the best player available when their picks at No. 11, 23 and 35 come up.
The Sparks could add another 3-point threat to add to their offensive arsenal (63.1% 2-pointers and 19.1% 3-pointers last year) to help space the floor for Gray and Sims to penetrate or for Parker and Ogwumike to work the high-low game. L.A. made the fewest 3-pointers of any playoff team last season at 5.3 per game with Gray (1.6 per game) and Parker (1.4 per game) being the main contributors.
For a team that has depth and two consecutive years of Finals experience, a rookie may not make a big impact in year one for the Sparks, but adding more talent for the future and in case of injury is always imperative. The Sparks have three picks to work with to help add to their already talented team.