It’s Time For The Portland Trail Blazers To Live Up To Their Nickname – Hire Becky Hammon
by Ben McCarty/Oregon Sports News
For most of the past decade, the team has been good but not good enough. They’ve been a perpetual playoff team but never a true title contender. After yet another first-round playoff exit, they have been caught and passed by other Western Conference teams in the race to the top. Two years ago, the Phoenix Suns were at the bottom of the conference. Now, after dumpstering the Lakers in the first round, they have a legitimate path to the Larry O’Brien Trophy.
To their credit, the Portland Trail Blazers have recognized they are not good enough. Head Coach Terry Stotts was the first change in what will likely be a busy offseason. For a team that absolutely needs to take the next step soon if it hopes to take advantage of Damian Lillard’s prime, the initial list of potential successors to Stotts was less than inspiring.
The first name to get significant attention was that of Los Angeles Lakers assistant Jason Kidd, who received the public support of Lillard. Lillard should have some explaining to do for that one because, in addition to twice failing as a head coach and twice failing at launching power plays against his bosses, Kidd also has a history of domestic abuse and drunk driving.
Not exactly an ideal candidate.
Other names mentioned are Jeff Van Gundy and Mike D’Antoni. If you want an older white guy with a history of getting teams to the playoffs but doesn’t win championships … well, you could have kept the coach you just fired.
Chauncey Billups and Juwan Howard could both be interesting choices. Both would bring the perspective of former players. Only Howard has head coaching experience–heading up the University of Michigan, which he coached to the Elite Eight last season. They both deserve consideration and could make excellent choices.
However, the choice I have in mind would be a true Trail Blazer in every sense of the word.
They have spent the last seven years learning under Greg Popovich, one of the greatest coaches of this generation. They know the game inside and out, have been a head coach in the NBA summer league, know what it takes to compete in the Western Conference, and had a highly successful playing career.
The person I’m describing is Becky Hammon, who, in addition to being highly praised by players and coaches alike, would happen to be the first full-time female head coach in NBA history were she to be hired. Hammon would be a coach unlike any the NBA has ever seen, and it’s a position she has earned and proven she is ready for. That’s just what the Blazers need right now.
The Blazers have spent much of the past decade being tentative, trying to shuffle around a few pieces at a time to build something that can contend for a championship. That strategy hasn’t worked. If the Blazers really do want to use the window of the prime years of the best player in franchise history, the time has come to be bold.
Hiring Becky Hammon would be the first bold choice in what needs to be a summer of them.
If Portland wants to prove they belong among the league’s elite, it’s time for them to be Trail Blazers.