December 11, 2023 

Los Angeles Sparks use lottery luck to move up to No. 2

Los Angeles has the chance to grab a foundational player in the 2024 WNBA Draft

The only thing that could have gone better for the Los Angeles Sparks on Sunday would have been if they secured the No. 1 overall pick in the 2024 WNBA Draft. But the No. 2 pick is not a bad consolation.

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It’s a massive win for a team that’s looking to get back among the WNBA’s elite. The available pool of players in the draft has yet to be decided with most of the potential lottery picks still having remaining NCAA eligibility beyond this season.

But it’s possible that three of the top four picks end up being — in no particular order — Iowa’s Caitlin Clark, UConn’s Paige Bueckers and Stanford’s Cameron Brink.

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In any case, the Sparks are almost guaranteed to get a potential generational talent with the No. 2 pick. Following the announcement of the draft lottery, Sparks general manager Karen Bryant was unable to contain her excitement.

“We would have been ecstatic at any pick, but just to beat the odds, we’re due for a breakout here,” Bryant said to reporters following the lottery. “To beat the odds and move up to number two, I’m excited…I’m just excited for our players, for our organization, for [head coach] Curt [Miller] to be there to represent us — it was a huge, huge day for the Sparks.”

While it’s still incredibly early for the Sparks to know just how they plan to use the No. 2 pick, there’s two directions they can go in. When it comes to the WNBA Draft, teams often take one of two options. They either draft based on a position of need or they simply go with the best player available and figure it out later.

It’s an approach that Bryant admits the Sparks will end up taking once the draft pool becomes a little bit more clear as does the Sparks roster. The WNBA free agency period will have happened by the time the draft rolls around and so the Sparks will have a better sense of what they still might need in terms of roster construction.

“Obviously how free agency goes for us is going to drive a lot of our draft strategy. But you’re sitting at No. 2 with the class that we think can come out and the potential depth of that class,” Bryant said. “I think when we get there it’ll be more clear by that point because we will have done a tremendous amount of homework and we will have locked in our free agents and have a much better idea of what we think that missing piece is.”

The Sparks will also have the No. 12 pick in the draft by way of the Dearica Hamby trade with the Las Vegas Aces. In what is expected to be a very deep draft even outside of the lottery, the Sparks have a chance to grab multiple quality players.

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As the Sparks get to work in constructing what they hope will be a winning roster for the 2024 season, Bryant is adamant that the right staff is in place to make the right decisions.

“We’re going to keep an open mind as we go through this. I think that’s really important,” Bryant said. “I think it’s really easy to get tunnel vision around what you think, and there’s speculation, there’s rumors, there’s promotion, there’s hype and at the end of the day that’s all well and good but you got to do the work. I really believe in the quality of our staff and the collaborative environment we have. We’re gonna do the work and we’re gonna get in the margins to really figure out who the best fits are.”

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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