Candace Parker is feeling good after taking the first half of the season off. Head coach Brian Agler is glad to have Parker back and ready to play. Swish Appeal caught up with both after practice, as Parker gears up to make her season debut tomorrow against the Minnesota Lynx.
Swish Appeal: You wanted to take the first half of the season off to rest and prepare your body, so how are you feeling? Do you feel well rested?
Candace Parker: “I feel well rested. You know obviously it was great to be a mom for a second and be able to have 100% of my focus on my daughter, and that was the best thing. Lailaa (Candace’s daughter) told me; she was watching the Sparks game, and she said, ‘Mommy I want you to play for the Sparks.’ So it will be fun to be able to look over on the sideline and see her.”
SA: Diana Taurasi is taking all season off, and you took off the first half of the season, how do you think this impacts the league with a lot of the superstars not playing?
CP: “I think it definitely breeds discussion, breeds conversation and with that hopefully it will breed change from both sides. This is the most competitive league in the world, and I think a lot of us desire to play in it.”
SA: Was it tough watching the team struggle and lose close games?
CP: “It was difficult, but you try to look at it and see some positives. Our offensive flow was better; we beat a team that has been our nemesis for awhile in Phoenix, so obviously after the All-Star break, teams look at it like a new season.”
SA: What is your role going to be for the Sparks the remainder of the season?
CP: “I think my role will be defined as it goes on. This isn’t my first time playing with the Sparks, and I think I know my role I know what I can give to this team, so it’s just about going out there and doing it.”
Swish Appeal: What has your assessment been on Candace Parker since returning to practice?
Brian Agler: “Its been good you know she has practiced well, she’s worked hard, she’s acclimated herself with the group. She’s familiar with most of the team, she’s competing in practice, and she’s absorbing a lot because she has got some catching up to do, but she is very intelligent she picks things up quickly.”
SA: How do you incorporate Candace into the offense with two All-Star post players?
BA: “Well we are experimenting with Nneka playing like she has already at the three spot. Really getting her up to speed with the defensive intangible things that we try to incorporate into our team.”
SA: Diana Taurasi is sitting out this season and Candace Parker sat out the first half of the season, how do you think that impacts the league when the superstars are not playing?
BA: “Well I think the league is better off when their stars are playing. I think what’s different with the WNBA, is the standpoint that women’s basketball professionally is a little bit different than some of the other sports, like the NBA, and maybe Major League Baseball or the NFL, where our players play overseas in a traditional basketball season.
“With that being said, you know they are playing year-round, and some of them have families. Candace has got a daughter, and Diana Taurasi is 32/33 years old, so they need at some point rest, so I think everybody thats in the league sort of understands that. It’s a shame that they are sitting out right now, but I think most people support that.
“We are just glad that Candace is back playing with us at this point.”