Candace Parker is an LA basketball great, having won two MVPs and a championship for the WNBA’s Los Angeles Sparks. Now, she is adding a new title to her already-decorated resume: Turner Sports NBA and NCAA analyst. After doing some work on studio shows during the 2018 NCAA Tournament, Parker is taking her talents to broadcast full time for the 2018-19 season.
There is a growing trend of WNBA players using their offseason to explore careers in the NBA, and Parker joins Chiney Ogwumike of the Connecticut Sun (ESPN in-studio analyst) and Kristi Toliver of the Washington Mystics (Wizards player development assistant coach) along that path.
In the midst of her busy schedule, which includes a spot on GameTime (NBA TV at 4 p.m. PST) before tonight’s Clippers-Rockets game, Parker was kind enough to connect with Clips Nation about her new job and what she’s looking for from the Clippers this season.
Clips Nation: What about broadcasting drew you to want to spend your offseason with Turner?
Candace Parker: I love to plan ahead, and I know that the ball isn’t going to bounce forever. I’ve been waiting for the perfect time to transition into another career. This was an amazing opportunity for a chance to do the second-best job in the world — talk about basketball (with the first, obviously, being playing basketball). Turner is a family atmosphere where they encourage open discussion, honest opinion, and fun!
CN: If you had to pick one Clippers-related storyline to watch this season, what would be it be? What part of this club do you find most intriguing?
CP: I bleed orange, and as you know, I have the “Tennessee Connection” with Tobias Harris. (Editor’s Note: Parker’s fandom for her alma mater was on full display during the 2018 NCAA Tournament, and it was glorious.) I believe Tobias is a star and is ready and needs to be recognized as a player who can and will contribute on a contending team. His ability to shoot the ball, defend a variety of positions, as well as put the ball on the floor makes him a perfect player for today’s brand of basketball. I am intrigued to see the variety of ways they utilize his versatility and playmaking skills. This team has an opportunity to defend extremely well (Patrick Beverley, Avery Bradley, Tobias Harris) and that is something, if they all buy into, they can win a lot of ball games by simply doing that.
CN: The NBA is a star-driven league. What’s the key to success for a team like this year’s Clippers, who have no players on the roster who have appeared in an All-Star game?
CP: I’ve heard a number of people call this a “retooling” year and not a “rebuilding” year. With no All-Stars on the roster, I believe it’s safe to say no one has the Clippers winning the championship this year. What they can do, is through their role players, attract a major free agent this offseason to come and play in LA for the other team. They do that by competing during the regular season and proving that they can contend. This team has the potential to be able to attract big names because it is Los Angeles, Ballmer is an owner who is dedicated to winning, and their role players are a good mix of experience and up-and-coming youth.
CN: Which current Clippers player would you love to play on the same team with and why?
CP: I’ve always been a huge fan of Avery Bradley. He’s a guy who people underestimate how crucial it is to have on your team. Tough, hardworking, does the little things, does the dirty work AND can score the basketball. For me, I need and want to play alongside people like that on my team.
CN: From covering the NCAA tournament, what do you think Shai Gilgeous-Alexander can provide for the Clippers as a rookie?
CP: I really enjoyed following and covering Shai Gilgeous-Alexander last season in the NCAA tournament. His athleticism and playmaking abilities for Kentucky definitely caught my eye. He has huge upside, and I believe his length and ability to play both sides of the ball were a huge pickup for the Clippers. He is the youth that the Clippers needed, and if they can grow him correctly on the offensive end, he will make an impact for the Clippers in the future. Shai will benefit greatly from the spread-out, open floor game of the NBA. In college, space was a huge issue, and it hindered his playmaking and decision making because defenses are more packed in and compact.