SPORTS

Sports analysis: No NBA coaching revolution, Spurs hired Becky Hammon for basketball reasons

Becky Hammon. (AP file photo)
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ARLINGTON, Va. (WJLA) -- We gather here today to launch plaudits of ceiling-breaking praise and trailblazer testaments to Becky Hammon, who this past week became the first-ever fulltime assistant coach in the National Basketball Association when she was hired by the San Antonio Spurs.

Actually, scratch that.

This was a basketball decision. Nothing more, nothing less.

Yes, she’s a woman. So what?

Yes, it’s a good day for gender equality and blah, blah, blah.

OK. Got that.

But anyone who watched the Spurs dismantle the Miami Heat in the NBA Finals earlier this summer knows San Antonio won because of, well, many of the well-honed fundamentals that have become a staple for the women’s game over the past couple of decades.

Precision passing. Synergistic ball movement. Defensive spacing that quickly can become a Venus flytrap.

That always has been the way the Spurs roll under longtime coach Greg Popovich, as no-nonsense-style of a coach as you’ll ever see.

Hammon, who spent 16 years in the WNBA before retiring last season following a knee injury, knows all about movement and spacing. She had no choice. The women’s game isn’t based on high-flying, power basketball.

And neither is the Spurs’ game.

So this is a perfect fit and a savvy move by Popovich, who said in a statement that, “. . .her basketball IQ, work ethic and interpersonal skills will be a great benefit to the Spurs.”

Of course it will.

Women see the game from a different perspective than that of their male counterparts. They toil in the weeds instead of the treetops. Theirs is a game, at least when played properly, of intricate precision.

Just like the Spurs.

“I’m capable because of my basketball IQ,’’ Hammon said last wek.

And that’s the point.

This is a basketball decision.

Nothing more, nothing less.

WJLA.com's Skip Wood spent nearly 15 years covering sports for USA TODAY, including numerous NBA Finals.

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