The 14-year veteran is one of the newest additions to the Sparks championship hopes.
Following last season’s playoff elimination at the hands of the Connecticut Sun, the Los Angeles Sparks revamped their roster a bit by adding key players in Kristi Tolliver and Brittney Sykes to help shore up some of their weaknesses.
But one surprising addition they made was the acquisition of Seimone Augustus. Augustus is one of the most decorated players currently in the league. She’s an eight-time All-Star and four-time WNBA champion. She was the Finals MVP in 2011. And she’s been a thorn in the side of the Sparks for years as part of one of the WNBA’s biggest rivalries.
Now, in the twilight of her career, she’s in Los Angeles hoping to be part of the puzzle in the Sparks quest for their first championship since 2016. Augustus spoke with reporters on a conference call Friday morning during which she admitted that it took her a while to wrap her head around the fact that she was going to be a Spark.
“It took a couple weeks to get over the idea of playing with players that we’ve had intense rivalries with, intense games with,” Augustus said. “I know what it feels like to be around and play with great players. Just the feeling of being able to experience that once again is what’s keeping me focused on, not the rivalries and the past tensions, but the possibility of the future.”
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Last season, Augustus was limited to only 12 games due to injury and had career-lows in points per game (3.8) and shooting percentage (31.3 percent). In a call with reporters earlier this month, Sparks head coach Derek Fisher suggested that Augustus will be in the mix along with Sykes and Tierra Ruffin-Pratt for the starting small forward spot.
She’s been a versatile player throughout her career in terms of her ability to play different roles on the court whether it’s being a scorer, a playmaker, or a defensive stopper. She’s confident that she’ll be able to adapt to whatever role the Sparks need her to fill.
“I’ve always been perfect at just finding my spots and getting there. My jumper has been my bread and butter,” Augustus said. “I’ve always been great at just reading what’s going on. When you have players like Nneka [Ogwumike] and Candace [Parker] who are super smart and people have to pay so much attention to, it really does open up the floor for you to be able to be as effective as you need to be to free them up and keep double teams off of them.”
Augustus hasn’t yet decided how much longer she wants to play. She remained non-committal on whether or not this would be her final season. She’s a player who throughout her career, has been used to being the focal point of a team offensively and carrying a scoring load.
She suggested that as she’s in the latter years of her career, being able to play alongside talented scorers in Parker and Ogwumike, and veteran ball-handlers like Tolliver and Chelsea Gray, might actually help her extend her career a bit.
“Anybody can bring it up, that’s the beauty in this team, you can just grab it off the rim and go,” Augustus said. “Obviously being the focal point, you’re going to have 60 percent of the plays ran for you. Yeah, it does prolong your career as you’re not the focal point of the team, it’s a possibility.”
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