The 2014 NBA Champion San Antonio Spurs have done an impressive job of reassembling the team in hopes of repeating in 2015. All the key pieces have been brought back during the free agency period. Patty Mills, Boris Diaw, Tim Duncan, Tony Parker, and Gregg Popovich each signed new deals or contract extensions. As dominant as the Spurs were in 2014, one would assume that adding anything more than first-round draft pick Kyle Anderson would be fixing a team that ain’t broke.
However, the Spurs think differently than the rest of the NBA, and they are usually ahead of the game. Tuesday, August 5, 2014, the San Antonio Spurs added Becky Hammon as an assistant coach for the defending league champions. She is the first woman to be hired as an assistant coach for the regular season.
Yes, a woman.
Isn’t there a WNBA? Yes. She excelled there, and the best front office in professional sports chose her to help its team be better this year. Please try to avoid any misogynistic attitudes or comments that will do nothing but incite anger. It’s safe to assume that the Spurs organization knows more about basketball and building a team than just about anyone else. We shouldn’t waste time questioning a move the Spurs made.
Save the questions about why this monumental move happened for another time. Don’t consider what this means for the Spurs for the moment, and don’t even think about what this means for women just yet. What will this mean for Hammon?
It’s really the perfect situation. She is with the best team in the league and will learn from the best head coach in the league. She comes into a team whose culture thrives on avoiding distractions and doing your job. The Spurs have created a dynasty by picking up players that no other team wants or values and plugs them into their system allowing the players to do what they do best. Now San Antonio is doing it with coaches. San Antonio doesn’t care about looks or flash or following the norms; it cares about winning.
Hammon will be able to learn, grow, and contribute in a relatively low-stress setting. The Popovich coaching tree is vast and touches most organizations in the league. The Spurs organization is a perfect place for Hammon to develop into a quality coach in the NBA. If she were going to a different organization, there may be cause for concern, not because Hammon doesn’t have the aptitude but because other organizations may struggle with such a new dynamic. The Spurs, however, have been proving the doubters wrong for years and fitting anyone and everyone into their system. Becky Hammon will succeed in this league for years to come and the Spurs will have proved the doubters wrong again.