During a recent press conference, Las Vegas Aces Head Coach Becky Hammon recently said that “she is used to not being picked.”
While that may hold true in a number of instances, Hammon’s basketball character and merit made San Antonio Spurs Head Coach Gregg Popovich, one of the most successful and impactful basketball coaches in history, “choose” Hammon to become part of the prestigious and influential Popovich coaching tree.
Hammon relied on hard work, perseverance, and a great basketball mind to develop into one of the best guards to ever play in the WNBA. These characteristics certainly play a major role in coaching. Undoubtedly, Popovich noticed these traits in Hammon, assisting her in developing into a demanding and commanding presence on the sideline while also maintaining the ability to connect with her players on a personal level, which leads to the highest level of coaching success.
With Popovich at the helm, the “Foundational Foursome,” of Hall of Famers, David Robinson, Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili and future Hall of Famer, Tony Parker, served as the “foundation” of the Spurs Dynasty that produced four NBA titles and numerous individual accolades.
In partnership with these four great players, Popovich deployed a style of play that featured accountability on both ends of the floor as well an elite level of ball and player movement on the offensive end that highlighted sharing the ball and exploiting match-ups. Many basketball pundits described “The Spurs Way” that featured sacrificing individual acclaim for team success as “beautiful” basketball.
Gregg Popovich praises the Las Vegas Aces’ execution
In person, Popovich watched Hammon’s Aces seize a 2-0 lead in their best-of-five WNBA Finals series with the Connecticut Sun and addressed the Aces in the locker room after their display of dominance on the floor, lauding the Aces for their “beautiful” brand of basketball, highlighted by their propensity and willingness to share the ball.
Las Vegas features three of the top 12 scorers in “The W,” in two-time league MVP A’ja Wilson, Kelsey Plum, and the league’s most improved player, Jackie Young. Las Vegas also has the luxury of playing the “Ultimate Ace,” in the “Point Gawd” herself, Chelsea Gray, whom Plum refers to as the “best point guard in the world.”
Similar to the Spurs, Hammon has stressed to her players that team success equals individual adulation and her the Aces have followed suit, completing buying into the communal approach on the offensive end of the floor.
To secure the first championship in franchise history, The Aces will have to continue “playing the right cards” by empowering and relying on the team concept as they head to enemy territory at Mohegun Sun Arena, where they will attempt to sweep the Sun in front of the Connecticut faithful.