Spurs Hammon Basketball

Spurs assistant coach Becky Hammon says her hiring ‘could be catastrophic’ if she wasn’t qualified


The Spurs named Becky Hammon as assistant coach on Tuesday, and while technically she becomes the second female to hold that title in NBA history, in practice she’ll be the first with a real role in coaching a men’s professional team.

Lisa Boyer was part of John Lucas’ staff with the Cavaliers during the 2001-02 season, but didn’t travel with the team, and was paid by Cleveland’s WNBA franchise.

Hammon figures to have much more responsibility under Gregg Popovich, who had no interest in hiring Hammon simply to make history.

From Mike Monroe of the San Antonio Express-News:

“Pop told me, early on, ‘As cool as it would be to hire you, you have to be qualified, and I have to make sure you’re qualified,’” Hammon said. “I think that’s the best way to go about it. It could be catastrophic if I wasn’t qualified, and then it sets the whole thing back.”

Despite all efforts to make Hammon’s hiring seem ordinary, there was no way to deny its significance.

“Obviously, the (historic first) is great, and it’s a tremendous honor, but I think the bigger point is I’m getting hired because I’m capable, because of my basketball IQ and stuff that they’ve seen in me personally,” Hammon said. “I know I’m just thrilled for the opportunity to coach these unbelievable athletes and, from what I’ve known, unbelievable people.”

Hammon is in the final season of a WNBA career that’s lasted 16 seasons, the last eight of which have been spent in San Antonio, where she’s been able to be around Popovich and the Spurs for many of those years.

There isn’t a team that’s proven to be more serious about the craft of basketball than the Spurs have over the past 17 seasons with Popovich running the show, so there’s no doubting that Hammon has the necessary skills to not only do the job she was hired for, but to excel at it, as well.

Kristaps Porzingis grew up a Kobe fan. Still is one.


When you hear player comparisons for Knicks rookie, the most common is Dirk Nowitzki — a European big with ridiculous shooting range and potential to embarrass anyone.

So did he grow up idolizing Dirk? Not so much.

Rather, like many of his generation, he grew up idolizing Kobe Bryant, he told Mike Francesa of WFAN.

“My favorite player growing up was Kobe. The Lakers were my team and I still love him.”

There is an entire generation of NBA players — and just fans — who would say the same thing.

In the interview, Porzingis laments his missed shots and turnovers, he thinks he can be a lot better. That is exactly what you want out of a rookie. It’s a huge adjustment playing at the NBA level, the speed of the game and IQ is a leap from Europe (or college). Recognizing the challenge is part of it.

There’s a lot to like in Porzingis. He could be special (we don’t know yet, we see only the potential). But idolizing Kobe — and if you understand the work he put in, the passion for the game — can be a good start.

(Hat tip NBA reddit)

Warriors’ interim coach Luke Walton’s car stolen

Luke Walton

If you’re looking for a “when are things going to go wrong for the Warriors” moment, we have one for you. But it may not be what you had hoped for.

Warriors’ interim head coach Luke Walton — the guy on the sidelines for the 15 (soon to be 16) game winning streak — had his car stolen during a crime spree, reports NBCBayArea.com.

One of the cars stolen during an Oakland Hills crime spree belongs to Golden State Warriors coach Luke Walton, Alameda County District Attorney Nancy O’Malley said late Monday.

Walton’s Mercedes Benz was stolen Tuesday by two suspects, who police believe are also responsible for a violent attack on a 75-year-old woman outside her home on Thursday. The suspects also took the woman’s car during the attack, according to police.

Yikes. That’s serious.

I’m sure Steve Kerr has like 14 cars, he can loan one to Walton.

Pacers guard George Hill returns Tuesday against Wizards

Paul George, Marcus Morris
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WASHINGTON (AP) — Pacers guard George Hill returned to the lineup Tuesday night against Washington after missing three games with an upper respiratory infection.

Hill is averaging 14 points and just under 37 minutes in 10 games this season. He was on the bench in case of emergency in Saturday’s victory over Milwaukee.

Coach Frank Vogel said Tuesday Hill’s infection had improved “to the point where he’s fine to play,” but would keep an eye out for fatigue after an 11-day layoff.

Hassan Whiteside on intentional fouls: “It’s not working, so keep fouling me”

Hassan Whiteside

Remember how Adam Silver was preaching that the league didn’t want to change the intentional foul rule — the hack-a-Shaq strategy — because it was really about two players (DeAndre Jordan and Dwight Howard) and a handful of others now and then. The fact that it’s not basketball didn’t matter.

Well, it’s not just two — Miami’s Hassan Whiteside has gotten the treatment this season. He’s a 53.4 percent free throw shooter this season.

And he says bring it on. From Jason Lieser of the Palm Beach Post:

“I’m enjoying this,” he said. “Foul me so I can get a double-double and we can win. It’s not working, so keep fouling me.”

He’s even smart at not getting fouled.

Whiteside also is liking that teams are looking at their options against the best defense in the NBA — yes, Miami at 94 points allowed per 100 possessions, is the best defense in the NBA right now — and deciding to attack Whiteside.

“There’s teams that’s out there that say ‘Stay away from Hassan,’ and there’s teams that say, ‘We don’t care if Hassan’s down there. Attack Hassan.’ I love them teams that do that. God bless them coaches. I love them teams.”

Whiteside is not as great a defender as the block totals would indicate — if he doesn’t see a block in it, his rotations can be a bit slow. One scout recently called him a selfish defender to me recently, suggesting he is in it for the numbers, not the sacrifices needed for an elite defense. True or not, the Heat have an elite defense and Whiteside is at the heart of it.

And if the strategy is to try to exploit him, Whiteside plans to make people pay.