Sparks are growing in real time

They're gritty. They have the city glowing. The Los Angeles Sparks are growing. A franchise once synonymous with championships, the Sparks are coming off three consecutive losing seasons. But this isn't them. Derek Fisher is an afterthought. Fred Williams is gone. Marquee names like Nneka Ogwumike and Liz Cambage are missing. Yes, this rendition of the team looks different. They have retooled, are reborn and reinvigorated. These Sparks have a spark.

Their 1-2 record doesn't tell their story. What's missing is how they pushed two playoff contenders, the Las Vegas Aces and the Atlanta Dream, to the brink. Their record doesn't capture how fans have transformed the Long Beach Pyramid into a raucous arena compared to the muted rafters of the arena. Kim Kardashian, Magic Johnson, North West and Leslie Jones are just some of the faces that pounded their feet under the direction of DJ Malski.

The Sparks have outrebounded, outrun, and outperformed each of their opponents. They've been scrappier, more connected and more entertaining.

The No. 2 overall draft pick, Cameron Brink, has showcased her defensive prowess and brilliance, when she's not in foul trouble. But, with each game, there is growth. Los Angeles' No. 4 pick, Rickea Jackson, after opening the season three for 10 from the field, is showcasing her ability to get a bucket at will and create for herself. She consistently showcases big-play flair.

Dearica Hamby, Lexie Brown and Kia Nurse lead the charge for a team without a superstar. Sparks head coach Curt Miller envisions an amoeba-like offense where anyone can carry the weight of leading the team on a given day. However, one thing that has been consistent thus far is the energy that has characterized this Sparks team.

"With that energy and that effort and the chemistry we played with today, we're going to win a lot of games in this league," Nurse said after a recent victory this week.

"We never quit, we really battled and showed our scrappiness that we're going to be defined by this year," Miller said, adding, "What I learned is I got a really competitive group. We're young. We're going to make mistakes. We've had 13 practices and we're not going to look aesthetically great in the month of May, but we'll get better and better." The Sparks are growing.

Follow Eric on X @elambsquared and Instagram @elamb5quared.


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