With the WNBA season about a month away, it’s that time of year again to see who on the LA Sparks is bound to improve this year and have a breakout campaign in the 2014 WNBA season.
As the Los Angeles Sparks prepare for their upcoming 2014 campaign, one question comes into the minds of the players, coaches, and analysts – Which Sparks player is due to have a breakout performance in the year of 2014? It was considerably hard finding one, considering that the Sparks seem to have a deeply talented roster already.
With that in mind, forward Jantel Lavender seems to be the ideal player that could fit the description for this category.
There are a few factors to consider, as the discussion for Lavender as the team’s breakout player for this coming season. One factor is the fact that she has statistically improved in each of her first three seasons of her career so far. Another factor is that she has continued to improve her skills while playing in the Euroleague during the WNBA offseason. The last factor is the fact that she is only heading into her fourth year of her career.
The only couple of downsides that could derail Lavender from are the facts that she is on an already deeply talented roster and that she has not performed all that well in the WNBA Playoffs.
Lavender has shown the ability to continue to improve in each of her first three seasons of her young career. It shows in her stats, as she had begun her career only averaging 6.6 points per game and 3.1 rebounds per game in the year 2011. In the 2012 season, she took a small dip in her scoring average, going down to 5.6 ppg, but also managed to increase her rebounding average to 3.9 rpg. Last season she managed to take another step forward averaging 7.2 ppg and 4.5 rpg both are which they are career-high averages in both departments. She also manages her averages in both the assist and blocks departments so far in her career.
According to the Sparks team website, Lavender had been playing in the EuroLeague during her WNBA offseason for a team in Poland. The website also discusses the fact that Lavender is currently leading the team in points and rebounds, as well as a position in the league playoffs. This should even give her more confidence and momentum towards performing well in the 2014 campaign.
Lavender is only entering into her fourth season in her WNBA career. She is only going to be 25 years old throughout the season, which means that she is only just starting to get in her prime. At the rate she’s going statistically, she could end up having a long and prosperous career. A factor that could derail Lavender a chance to break out is the fact that it is so much talent on the Sparks already.
When you think of the Sparks, you usually think about the stardom of Candace Parker. Then you think of the already-emerging stars of Nneka Ogwumike and Kristi Tolliver. Throw in the veteran presence of Lindsey Harding, Ebony Hoffman and Alana Beard. Not to mention the newly acquired free agents of Candace Wiggins and Armintie Herrington. Put that altogether and that describes how deeply talented the Sparks are, which could take away minutes from Lavender, although Lavender could be included in the eight or nine-man rotation.
Lavender has also had a habit of disappearing around the WNBA Playoffs, with career playoff averages of 2.6 ppg and 2.3 rpg. With the momentum she is receiving from her Euroleague success, she could be erasing those playoff demons come this year’s playoffs if the team makes it. All in all, Lavender looks to be poised as the breakout player for this talented group of Sparks in the year 2014.