It’s the growth for Brittney Sykes.
Following a stellar wubble season that was capped off with an All-Defensive team honor, Brittney Sykes inked a multi-year deal to return to the Los Angeles Sparks.
“I’m very big on stability,” Sykes said to media in her presser on Tuesday. “I’m very big on seeing how something plays out especially if there is potential for growth.”
In her first season with the Los Angeles Sparks, Sykes grew as a defensive presence and had a jump in her shooting percentage. Her play from the season on the defensive end especially earned her a nod on the WNBA’s All-Defensive Second Team.
Los Angeles envisions Sykes as a key part of the fabric of the team moving forward due to her defensive prowess and energy that she brings to the table.
The team acquired Sykes prior to the 2020 season from the Atlanta Dream in a trade that sent Kalani Brown to the Dream for Sykes and Marie Gülich. Atlanta drafted the Syracuse alumna seventh overall in the 2017 WNBA draft.
From her formative, three years in Atlanta to her first season with the Sparks in 2020, consistency on both ends of the ball has been something that Sykes has put an emphasis on. Whether it is being a defensive stopper on the perimeter or an efficient shooter, Sykes has been intentional about building off the energy from the defensive end and focusing in on the kinds of shots that she takes.
“I just look to expand that just to continue to get smarter on and off the court,” Sykes said. “Just to continue to be that consistent defensive stopper and someone who can create their own shot and knock it down.”
In 2020, Sykes averaged 10.1 points shooting 48.7% from the field, 2.6 rebounds, 2.1 assists, and 1.5 steals. Sykes was also not afraid to get in the paint last season, getting to the free-throw line and shooting 80% at the stripe.
Sykes detailed in her press conference to media that prior to joining Los Angeles, as an opponent is was “frustrating.” The Sparks’ identity as a team has always been that they were long and athletic but being in this system now has been fun for her to experience and improve in.
Sparks Assistant Coach Latricia Trammel is the team’s go-to for defensive strategies and Sykes had been taking all of what Trammel communicated to her and applied in her play.
“She ignited a fire in me to want to be a defender because of how passionate I see her on defense,” Sykes said in praise of Trammel, who returns to the Sparks’ sidelines this season. “It made me want to be passionate about it.”
Just as she is working on her consistency on the defensive end, Sykes’ offensive efficiency continues to makes grow. Aforementioned, Sykes averaged 10.1 points a game with a shooting percentage of 48.7 while being focused on the type of shots that she wants and maintaining a steady rhythm.
Sykes is currently playing overseas in Turkey for OGM Ormanspor where’s she’s averaging 15.1 points on 47% shooting and 1.1 steals per game in league play.
“I definitely think that the confidence I have in my shot off the dribble has definitely increased,” Sykes said on her growth on the offensive end while playing overseas.
In the system that Sykes is playing in with OGM Ormanspor, she is able to move around in the offense to find those shots that she is keener on with practice and comfortability so that those skills seep into her muscle memory to carry on into the WNBA season.
Even with Sykes starting 15 of 22 games in the regular season and the Sparks lone playoff game, she stayed in the mindset of being ready for any role that is bestowed upon her. Going into the 2021 season, she is even more prepared to step up into bigger roles with her skillset.