Last time we dropped in on Becky Hammon, we did a brief recap of her basketball career, and threw in a couple of gratuitous photos to let you know that she was attractive, a matter that actually means nothing to her day job: assistant coach to the San Antonio Spurs of the NBA, working under Gregg Popovich himself.
This year, there’s a new wrinkle. The Milwaukee Bucks sacked head coach Jason Kidd midseason; assistant Joe Prunty took over on an interim basis, but with the Deer safely out of the playoff hunt, management is looking for someone new, and that someone might well be Becky Hammon.
Spurs stalwart Pau Gasol thinks this is a swell idea:
One, she was an accomplished player — with an elite point guard’s mind for the game. And two, she has been a successful assistant for arguably the greatest coach in the game. What more do you need? But like I said — I’m not here to make that argument. Arguing on Coach Hammon’s behalf would feel patronizing. To me, it would be strange if NBA teams were not interested in her as a head coach.
Gasol will tell you that she knows the game as well as anybody:
This year, in a practice a few months back, I was drilling the pick-and-roll with Dejounte Murray. It was a standard drill, just the two of us alone at one basket: I would set the screen and either pop out for the jumper or roll to the lane. If I popped, Dejounte would hit me with a chest pass. If I rolled, a bounce pass. Like I said, a very standard drill — we’ll do this a million times.
But what I remember about this particular drill is that, at some point during it, Coach Hammon stopped us mid-motion. Coaches Hammon, Borrego and Messina walk over, and Becky says to Dejounte, “D.J., O.K. — your bounce pass? It’s too low. You’ve got to hit Pau exactly where he needs it. Run that again.” We then talk some more as a group about how I need the ball a little more precise, with a little more zip, so I could have a better chance to finish the action at the rim. And then we repeat the drill a few times, alternating from the left and right sides of court. Of course, Dejounte being Dejounte, he figures it out fast — and pretty soon we’re flying through. But something about that moment has just always stuck with me. Just, like — the level of knowledge of the game that Becky showed, you know what I mean? She noticed a small detail out of the corner of her eye — and then instantly located both the problem and the solution.
Precisely what you want your head coach to be able to do at a moment’s notice, right?
I hope the Bucks take Hammon on. I’m surprised only that the Thunder’s Sam Presti, an alumnus of the Spurs organization himself, didn’t go after her following the 2015 dismissal of Scott Brooks. It’s not a done deal yet — the Bucks are also talking to Mike Budenholzer, most recently with the Hawks — and Gary D’Amato of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel thinks the time isn’t right, by which he means that the Deer have a chance and he doesn’t want some dumb girl to mess it up. (Seriously, Gary, try to do better, okay?)