by Chris Camello (@Chris_Camello)
BRADENTON, FL — The Los Angeles Sparks are now 2-2 through their first four games after an 81-75 loss to the Seattle Storm without Sue Bird. While they’ve looked really sharp in their wins and they are erratic in their two losses. For a team with All-Star talents, is chemistry an issue this early in the season?
It appears as though role definition is something that hasn’t become solidified yet.
Candace Parker had her best game of the season with a team-high 19 points, 12 rebounds, and three assists. Her frontcourt mate Nneka Ogwumike, who added 14 points and 7 rebounds, had an interesting take about a shift in Parker’s role that could lead to the chemistry improving.
“She can do it all; I’ve always tried to emphasize to her just because you can, doesn’t mean you have to,” Ogwumike said about Parker. “I think playing off of new players is what we can look forward to in her game.”
“She obviously is a multi-dimensional player and the core of our offense,” Ogwumike continued. “Developing that chemistry with the rest of the team is something I look forward to seeing, especially with how deep our bench is.”
It’s not surprising if the Sparks aren’t completely dialed-in as a group to start the season considering the circumstances. While their core is in tact, L.A. also acquired five new players.
Because of COVID, they didn’t have a normal training camp to fully integrate those new acquisitions. They’re also playing an accelerated season in a bubble in Florida with few days off in between games to practice.
Ogwumike spoke about the progress of developing that cohesiveness.
“Things are starting to soak in,” Ogwumike said. “We been together four weeks; we’re not only trying to learn each other, we’re trying to acclimate to what this season is.”
“I feel as though right now we are really understanding ourselves better,” Ogwumike continued. “Hopefully with the different rotations we were able to see this first week, we can start understanding exactly how we can work as one big machine.”
There isn’t much time for the Sparks to get on the same page, however, once that chemistry improves, the team’s performance will also improve and lead to more wins.