Can anyone please help me to truly understand what is going on with the most TALENTED team in the wnba? The Los Angeles Sparks have the most experienced and talented team in the league, but right now have a record of 3-6, without having any wins on the road? This franchise boasts of having the number 1 & 3 all time wnba scorers in Lisa Leslie and Tina Thompson, along with the MVP and Rookie of the Year from last season in Candace Parker. The bench is nothing to sneeze at, with Vanessa Hayden-Johnson anchoring and Bobbitt at the point. I have not even mentioned Betty Lennox, Marie Ferdinand-Harris or Delisha Milton-Jones, and yet as a fan, I am tore up by watching my team struggle so early in the season. But I guess, better to struggle now then later huh…I was reminded by the moderator of the @LA_Sparks twitter account of the now defunct franchise, Charlotte Sting, who started 1-10 before ending up in the Finals to face us. Needless to say that did nothing to ease my pain, and anxiety for my team.
Now let me make it clear, I have been a Los Angeles Sparks fan since the inception of the league. When the announcement came that there would be another professional basketball league for the women, I was estatic, and was anxious to see where my Lady Vols would end up. I chose the Los Angeles Sparks because I have been a long time Lakers fan so I might as well choose the Sparks, who at the time was owned by the Buss family (who also own the Lakers). I been riding with this team from day one, so excuse me if I am spoiled to winning and being successful, and yet I have endured through the bad times as well. My problem now is, I have no excuse to give for why we are struggling right now, except maybe one: Coach Cooper!
I know Sparks fans would disagree, but let’s really look at this: We all know that Candace has been out due to the birth of her daughter, and Lisa went out with a severe knee sprain against Phoenix, and we can even talk about chemistry issues, but I just don’t buy that being that Tina Thompson, Delisha Milton-Jones, and Lisa Leslie have been playing basketball with each other for around 10years when you think of USA basketball, simply put they know each other on the court. And regardless of what system they are running the basketball IQ of these three on the court is enough to make up for anything they lack on the court. Also, when you add in Betty Lennox and Marie, it just makes this team even more potent. Betty seems to have bought into the “team” concept, so that’s why I say Cooper. Coach Cooper has been admired and adored by the league and considered one of the best to ever coach in the WNBA, but with this squad he seems to not understand the match ups well. I am going to start with the most recent game versus Phoenix. He knows Tameka Johnson better than any coach, but he starts Kristi Harrower, who has a very hard time keeping up with Johnson…matchups (Bobbitt) should have played against Johnson at all times. In the 3rd quarter the Sparks had a six point lead coming in, and Harrower was left in the game until the Mercury were up 6 or 8pts on the Sparks. Not to mention, Betty Lennox stayed on the bench FAR TOO LONG..which forced Marie to end up fouling out of the game. Candace Parker entered the game and was clearly off a lil bit, as far as her timing, but as the games played increase, that will be nothing. She got beat on a few plays, and struggled to score in the beginning, but did very well for her first game back. And we all knew she would play more than 3-4min bursts as stated earlier. If you could have seen the look on Betty Lennox face as she sat on the bench itching to get back into the game when it was still in reach, it was priceless, but her wishes of returning was when the Sparks was down by 17, with 5min to go in the game. Cooper has got to find a way to understand his match ups on the floor and who his best team is on the floor. Lisa will return before the all star game, and this is how I think the starting line-up should look:
PG-Quinn SG-Lennox SF-Tina Thompson PF-DMJ C-Lisa Leslie with this line up, it’s big agile, and EVERYONE IS A THREAT OUTSIDE!Also no one has to worry about the pecking order, it’s in to Lisa, and let her make good decisions with the ball, whether she has the shot or to throw it out. The reason I placed Candace on the second team is because her and Bobbitt play so well with one another. PG-Bobbitt SG-MFH SF-CP PF-LWH C-Vanessa hayden…this lineup is big as well, but it’s FAST with the exception of the center position…you can run all day with this line-up and we know u can mix and match some of the Foward positions. So I guess Harrower is my odd person out, but I just don’t see her value on this team (from on court perspective). I hear that Nikki Teasley is available…