Happy days are here again, or will be soon for the Los Angeles Sparks, with the expected addition of Stanford's Nneka Ogwumike with the No. 1 pick in the 2012 WNBA draft on Monday.
The Sparks were fortunate to wind up with the top spot in the order after yet another unfortunate season, which saw star forward Candace Parker go down with yet another injury and Joe Bryant (father of Kobe Bryant) take over for head coach Jennifer Gillom on an interim basis.
But even after a 15-19 season, LA has the requisite talent on hand to challenge the defending champion Minnesota Lynx for the league title. Parker is but one of four former All-Stars on the Sparks' roster, alongside DeLisha Milton-Jones, Alana Beard and Nicky Anosike.
Will the Sparks be contenders with Nneka Ogwumike?
That total figures to grow to five with the arrival of Ogwumike. The 6'2" All-American has athleticism, maturity and the all-around skill set to be a dominant power forward in the WNBA from day one.
Ogwumike might not even be the most important rookie in LA, though. That title may well belong to head coach Carol Ross, who will be making her debut in that spot after spending three seasons as an assistant with the Atlanta Dream.
Ross will need to get up to speed in a hurry if the Sparks are to make that improbable run from worst to first in the span of a calendar year.
The Sparks have the talent to make it happen, though, thanks in large part to the lucky ping-pong ball that will soon turn into Nneka Ogwumike.