Like most clubs, the Los Angeles Sparks head into the 2020 season behind where they like to be physically, but they’ve gone a long way to building a culture as a group, through the use of zoom meetings.
Head Coach Derek Fisher told media on Sunday “From a relationships standpoint, the connections, the bonds that we have with each other, the returning players, our coaches our staff having that additional time working together…our entire organisation is just closer.”
Fisher is confident in his team and the work they have already put in “I think that will translate on the court once we can catch up and put those two things together, we think we’ve got a chance to be really good.”
Fisher is keen to have his best players at the top of their game at the business end of the season so Sparks fans may need to get used to seeing the whole team being utilized early in the season. “If we have 12 players opening day all 12 may play. We’ll sacrifice patterns of rotation to get players playing.”
Former Sixth woman of the Year Riquna Williams was very clear on how she sees her role for 2020 when asked if she was hoping to win the award again. “Honestly, I don’t really see myself coming off the bench, even starting back from last year Coach Fisher and I have a great understanding and I pretty much understand for the Sparks to have success I have to be in that starting rotation to help the team.” Williams made clear it was the benefit of the team, “if something changes between last year and now and I’ll definitely be okay with coming off the bench.” Williams made her ambition for the season clear “I want to chase a ring more so than individual awards.”.
GB International Kristine Anigwe is excited to work alongside Candace Parker this season. “ I really look to her, just for support, like mentorship, she has shown me how to prepare for practice, mindsets, she’s been really open and there for me. She’s basically like a coach on the floor. Being able to play with one of my role models.”
Anigwe made her Great Britain debut this February, as the team narrowly missed out on qualification to the Tokyo Olympics, making Anigwe a member of arguably the greatest team in British history. “Playing on the Great Britain National team was incredible, I was able to learn from Temi [Fagbenle], Karlie [Samuelson], Chema [Buceta], they have WNBA experience for me being able to learn from them it was super cool, we had an opportunity to go to the Olympics so playing on that big stage prepared me for going to the WNBA.”
Chelsea Gray is positive about the season and the chemistry building within the group as they go through the early part of their camp. Gray, entering her sixth season, is clear on her role on the 2020 Sparks. “I feel good, I feel ready to lead, to be that player that people look up to and depend on.” She is positive with how everyone has come into camp also “I feel the team look good…everyone looks good, I like what I’m seeing, so I’m glad we’re all on the one end of the spectrum and doing really well with it.”
Gray stated the ambition of the Los Angeles Sparks in 2020 “We’re taking care of our bodies, just knowing you’re not having to sprint to the end, you’re going to start building habits to win the championship, we’re starting small and making our way up.”