Sports

What’s next for Los Angeles Sparks with head coach Derek Fisher out?

Los Angeles Sparks on Tuesday eliminated head coach Derek Fisher just 12 games in the 2022 WNBA season.

The Sparks, who have won three WNBA tournaments and are one of the three remaining players in the league, opened the campaign this summer with the hope of returning to the playoffs after missing the first season in a decade. Instead, they start 5-7 from one-third of their 2022 regular schedule, which has included nine games along the way so far.

Assistant coach Fred Williams has been named head coach of Los Angeles, who will not play again until Saturday’s home game against the Las Vegas Aces.

Before that, we think of Fisher’s coaching legacy in Los Angeles, the time he was fired, how the Sparks progressed and what will happen after the second major change – Indiana Fever removed Marianne Stanley at the end of May – in the WNBA this season.

So why did Spark move now?

For Sparks to separate from Fisher in 2022 was not the case completely amazing. Some think that his fourth year in office was a do-or-die. With the recent appointment of new president Vanessa Shay to oversee business operations, a well-known mandate has already made a new headline in the front office; now it comes to the level of basketball.

That the move took place earlier this season was a bit weird. The Sparks 5-7 history was a nightmare for the team that adopted the term “show time” in an attempt to return to the franchise’s successful ceremony and re-establish the importance in Los Angeles. But the management had a problem if they wanted to keep Fisher until the end of the season: the team had a tough plan with the first three of 12 games this season at home, and if the regular season ended Tuesday night before the Sparks, the Sparks would enter contention.

Perhaps the change of Indiana head coach in the field – assistant Carlos Knox replaced Stanley on May 25 – helped push Sparks into that position. But it is also interesting that the idea came following the loss of Sparks 81-74 to Phoenix Mercury – who at 3-8 have a worse start to 2022 than LA – on Sunday, when Liz Cambage found the most valuable. he played only 13 minutes even though he did nothing wrong.

“Looking back, it was probably a mistake for me not to have a fourth,” Fisher said after the game. “We just felt like we were struggling to find some of the frustrating things, depending on the progress of the project.”

Two days later, Fisher was fired. – Philippou

What will be the legacy of Derek Fisher and Sparks?

It’s not very good. Fisher’s first season, 2019, was marred by Sparks’ meltdown in the playoffs when they were thrashed 3-0 by Connecticut Sun in the final, while franchise star Candace Parker was placed on the bench in the final. It eliminated the Los Angeles regular season ’22 -12, which earned Sparks No. 3 seeds.

Long-time superintendent Penny Toler was bold last season because of a blockade that used inappropriate language. But Fisher survived, despite concerns arising from some of the things he struggled with in the WNBA routine.

The 2020 epidemic season seemed like the right step for Fisher and Sparks. His commitment to the franchise and the agreement was noted in light of the need to remain blue in Bradenton, Florida, for a long time. Parker was WNBA Defensive Player of the Year for the first time in his career. The Sparks finished third, but lost again to Connecticut, this time in the second round of relegation. This was Parker’s last game in Sparks’ uniform; left the team that signed him No. 1 in 2008 and signed as a free agent with his home in Chicago Sky.

Last year, the Sparks missed the playoffs for the first time since 2011, when Parker helped lead Sky in the first WNBA title. This connection was difficult for Sparks fans to deal with. When the group signed Cambage and sold Chennedy Carter, it was a large dice roll for Fisher. They are all very talented, but they also had their challenges in the league.

Cambage has been involved in a number of incidents, when Carter was suspended by the Atlanta Dream for a long time in 2021 for “team damage.”

Fisher found the fourth season to go smoothly, but this was shortened this week. Considering that Sparks had nine games in the first 12 games on the road – the results of Crypto.com Arena needing to answer that maybe the NBA playoffs of the Lakers and Clippers – were probably not worth judging Fisher early. in 2022.

That Fisher seems to care about Sparks and the league has no doubt. But in a business based on results where postseason success is crucial, he was just about done. – flying

Who is Fred Williams’ permanent teacher, and what is his hope for becoming a regular teacher?

Williams has been in women’s basketball for more than 40 years, from her days as a senior USC assistant coach led by superstar Cheryl Miller in the early 1980s. She was born in Inglewood, California, and was a high school student in the 1970’s with former NBA player Reggie Theus. Williams was also the USC women’s head coach from 1995 to 1997 and moved to the WNBA, where she became head coach and assistant coach.

Williams was head coach of the Dallas Wings in 2018 when Cambage returned to the league after a four-year absence. He and Williams were on good terms, and Cambage was disappointed when Williams was released in August 2019 after a disagreement with Dallas president / CEO Greg Bibb.

Williams is known as a player coach, so we’ll see how he deals with Sparks differently. But is that the answer? Pa. Williams was hired in May to be the assistant coach of the Auburn women’s basketball team at the upcoming 2022-23 college, and is planning to leave Sparks this summer to join the Tigers. Instead, wait until the WNBA season ends.

Another Sparks assistant, Latricia Trammell, has been asked about senior coaching jobs in the past and may be keen to take on the role.

We’ll see if Fisher wants another coaching opportunity, if he gets it, and where it might be. An 18-year-old NBA professional who has won five tournaments as a player, Fisher really knows basketball. But his role as head teacher did not go as planned. He went 40-96 in the season and a half leading the NBA’s Knicks (2014 to 2016) before being sacked by New York in February 2016. He was hired by Sparks in 2018. – flying

How will Los Angeles’ hopes change this season? What is Ceiling? What is the floor?

Teams that experience early-stage coaching changes do not have high expectations, and sudden disruptions always have a chance to backfire in the short term. But especially with Williams’ familiar face, it is possible for Sparks to be determined to return to the playoffs, at least. He has the talent to do this, and probably has an experienced helm trainer like Williams – who knows how to get the best out of Cambage – a sudden change will not stop them, especially with the influx of teams like New York Liberty, Minnesota Lynx and Mercury to date.

For the Sparks to keep up with their expectations, they need to improve their defense, with Sunday becoming the finalist in the league at the defensive level (107.2), a notable failure in terms of how LA has become the most defensive team in recent years. . The Sparks are also due to make the required venue in July, when they will have seven games to play.

At the start of their troubles, the Sparks players seemed confident that things would come together, pointing out how nine of the nine players who lasted 10 minutes per game were all new to the franchise. As soon as the chemistry begins, and players like Katie Lou Samuelson (late arrival from overseas) and Kristi Toliver (late for the NBA game) settle down, it will be fine.

It’s hard to imagine LA getting a ring at the end of a season like that Cambage predicted in April, or LA to enter the top tier of teams in the summer. But it is unlikely that the Sparks could rush to close out the season, ending with a good seed going into the competition and possibly making a noise in the postseason. – Philippou

What changes can we see with Sparks? Who can see more minutes?

If you bring Cambage and Carter, you have to play them. This is exactly what the fans want, and Sparks needs all of them to be effective. Fisher seems to want to use playing time to strengthen Carter’s defense, but he is one of the most dangerous defenders in the league. Maybe you’re experiencing his rise and fall in self-defense and letting him do his thing in frustration.

Cambage, as mentioned, has a reputation with Williams and this should support the stability of his offerings. – flying

I’m also interested in seeing what happens with Carter and Cambage under Williams. Although they do have occasional setbacks, Cambage minutes and six minutes on the board, which is not what you would like in your free purchase. Cambage said Williams “brought out the best in me, he brought out what no one else could do.” With him shooting a shot now, it is possible he will try to drive the offense beyond the All-Star four-point limit.

Carter also struggled to find his way back in his early days in LA, where he scored less than 10 minutes in each game. Will Williams and his staff be able to improve his skills in the offseason and not make him responsible for self-defense?

Toliver has returned to LA after helping the Dallas Mavericks reach the final of the Western Conference as assistant coach. With Sparks off Amy Atwell on Tuesday, they expect Toliver to open soon, although it is unknown whether they will play or not this week. Williams could have hands full trying to find a combination of line and minute distribution with him, Jordin Canada, Lexie Brown, Carter and Brittney Sykes in the back yard.

That said, Brown and Samuelson are still key to the team that needs help to settle down. – Philippou

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