The Los Angeles Sparks added two contending guards in two-time WNBA champion Jordin Canada and young sharpshooter Chennedy Carter.
This is a homecoming for Canada who played for Windward School and UCLA. During her time at Windward, Canada helped the girls’ basketball team win three CIF Southern Section championships and one CIF state championship.
At UCLA, Canada became WNIT Most Valuable Player, Pac-12 Freshman of the Year, and Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year. During her WNBA career, Canada made 7.2 points, 2.1 rebounds, and 4.1 assists per game. With the Sparks, she desires to do more than be a go-to three-point shooter.
“I have to be a willing three-point shooter, I don’t necessarily need to be a knockdown three-point shooter like (Minnesota Lynx guard) Kayla McBride,” Canada said. “My development and where I’m at and where I see myself is being basically the (Phoenix Suns guard) Chris Paul of the league, mastering my mid-range, I feel like that’s where I would be most effective.”
Carter had a historical rookie season with the Atlanta Dream, becoming the youngest player to score 30 points. In her two years in the WNBA, Carter has averaged 16.1 points, 1.9 rebounds and 3.4 assists per game. Being in the second-biggest market in the United States, Carter looks forward to rebranding herself.
Last season, Carter only played 11 games before the Atlanta Dream suspended her. During her time off, Carter was able to work on her game, prioritize her mental health, and spend time with her family.
“I really just learned how to be a leader, how to deal with things differently, how to deal with people,” Carter said. “Staying away from the game, you can really just take a step back and see how you can impact it.”
When watching the Sparks, Canada noticed their strong defensive effort and how Sparks head coach Derek Fisher does not restrict the gameplay of his guards.
“I think that’s something that I really bring to the table is my aggressiveness on the defensive end,” Canada said. “The guard players are allowed to play their game and play it really free and I really liked that about his coaching and he’s not putting them in a box.”
Carter had been watching the gameplay of Sparks forward Nneka Ogwumike and mentioned how excited they both are teammates. She is eager to gain knowledge from Ogwumike.
“She’s been around the game long and she has definitely accomplished a lot of great things in her career,” Carter said. “She can do everything, she can pick and pop, shoot the three, she can guard post players off the dribble, finish, rebounds, putbacks … I’m definitely excited to play with [Ogwumike].”
An asset for the Sparks is the knowledge Canada has from having WNBA icon Sue Bird as a teammate.
“The biggest thing I learned playing for Seattle and learning from Sue Bird is just having a championship mindset and championship experience,” Canada said. “Just watching [Bird] and how she has led our team … just how she thinks the game, how she sees the game and constantly in communication with us.”