October 21, 2022 

Los Angeles Sparks get their coach in Curt Miller

Veteran WNBA coach Curt Miller will serve as the franchise's next head coach

The Los Angeles Sparks made headlines on Friday afternoon when the organization announced they had hired Curt Miller as the team’s new head coach. Miller will be the franchise’s fourth different head coach in the past eight years.

Miller will rejoin the team that gave him his start in the WNBA. He had been a long-time assistant coach in the college ranks with stops at Bowling Green and Indiana before he joined Brian Agler‘s staff with the Sparks in 2015.

In the past couple of seasons, Miller has developed into one of the top coaches in the league, having been the head coach of the Connecticut Sun since 2016. He also served in a dual role as the Sun’s general manager; however, he will not hold that title with the Sparks.

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Miller arrives in Los Angeles as a two-time WNBA Coach of the Year and helped guide the Sun to two Finals appearances in 2019 and 2022. He takes over a team that is looking for some kind of stability and a return to its former days of glory. The Sparks have missed the postseason for two consecutive years now.

For a team that needed a home run hire, Miller certainly fits the bill. He helped the Sun become one of the elite teams in the WNBA. Prior to Miller’s arrival in Connecticut, the team that was formerly the Orlando Miracle had a couple of winning seasons. But did not have the sustained success they had under Miller, who compiled a record of 140-86 during his tenure.

Although Miller will not serve as the team’s general manager, there is no doubt he will have a say in roster decisions. Under his watch, Jonquel Jones developed into a perennial MVP candidate and Alyssa Thomas became one of the most versatile players in the WNBA.

With almost half the Sparks set to hit unrestricted free agency, Miller will have the opportunity to immediately put his mark on the team. He most likely will have the services of another perennial MVP candidate in Nneka Ogwumike. Although Nneka will hit free agency, she made it very clear in her end-of-the-season media availability that she has no desire to play anywhere else.

Miller will also likely have a player whom he is familiar with in Chiney Ogwumike. Chiney played for the Sun when Miller took over as head coach. She too is a free agent, but she also made it clear in her media availability that she is a package deal with Nneka at this point in her career.

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After that, the roster becomes a little less certain as the only players under contract for next season are the rookies (Olivia Nelson-Ododa and Rae Burrell), Chennedy Carter, Jasmine Walker and Katie Lou Samuelson. The Sparks will have a lot of room to work with as they will enter free agency with $996,101 available in cap space, the second-highest in the league according to Her Hoop Stats.

Building a team from the bottom up was something Miller succeeded in doing with the Sun. Now, he’s got another chance to do something similar with the Sparks. First and foremost, that’s getting the right pieces to fit around Nneka. It will take some time, but there’s no reason not to believe that Miller can’t have the Sparks back among the league’s elite.

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David has been with The Next team since the High Post Hoops days when he joined the staff in 2018. He is based in Los Angeles and covers the LA Sparks, Pac-12 Conference, Big West Conference and some high school as well.

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