In the wake of firing David Fizdale, it’s been reported that the New York Knicks have considered going after San Antonio Spurs assistant coach Becky Hammon.
The New York Knicks have been the laughingstock of the league this year. From their strange impromptu press conferences to poor performance on the court, it’s been a weird season in NYC. Now, after firing head coach David Fizdale, it’s been reported by CNBC’s Jabari Young that San Antonio Spurs assistant coach Becky Hammon could be a name to watch as the Knicks search for their next head coach progresses.
It’s not an exaggeration to say that the New York Knicks are the biggest disaster in the NBA. They’ve been that way for the past few years. From striking out on top free-agents, making head-scratching signings, and cycling through coaches like no other franchise, the Knicks have spent the last several years making decisions that have left fans and casual observers baffled.
That’s a sharp contrast to the stable progress that Hammon has enjoyed with the San Antonio Spurs throughout her tenure with the team. From leading the Summer League team to a championship in 2015 to being a member of the helping coach at the 2016 NBA All-Star Game, Hammon has had numerous landmark moments in her time with the Spurs.
When Gregg Popovich was ejected from a game earlier this year, Hammon was part of another historical moment as she was the first woman to coach an NBA regular-season game. The Spurs later said that it was a “head coach by committee” situation but as Hammon was part of the head coach committee it should still be considered a historical achievement.
Through her time with the Spurs, Hammon has earned the respect of fellow coaches and players alike. Pau Gasol felt so strongly about Hammon’s talents as a coach that he penned a passionately worded letter in The Player’s Tribune expressing his admiration for her abilities.
“I’ve played with some of the best players of this generation … and I’ve played under two of the sharpest minds in the history of sports, in Phil Jackson and Gregg Popovich. And I’m telling you: Becky Hammon can coach. I’m not saying she can coach pretty well. I’m not saying she can coach enough to get by. I’m not saying she can coach almost at the level of the NBA’s male coaches. I’m saying: Becky Hammon can coach NBA basketball. Period.”
As Gasol and others would tell you, Hammon is more than qualified to coach the Knicks. But it would be a mistake to take that job. James Dolan and his front office have proven time and time again to be incapable of building a winning team.
If Hammon were to be the next coach she would likely be thrown under the bus in a season or two, just as any other coach would. Steve Kerr is one of the best coaches in the league and even he recently said that he would have found himself heading out the door in a matter of a few seasons if he had taken the Knicks job when offered it years ago.
Gregg Popovich won’t coach the San Antonio Spurs forever and Becky Hammon is in a great position to become the Spurs next head coach when he inevitably does retire. There is something to be said for taking on a challenge like rebuilding the Knicks. But that’s more than a challenge, it’s a trap job that will almost certainly chew up whoever ends up taking it.
The opportunity to coach a franchise as well known as the Knicks may be intriguing but it could also be a mistake. Hammon should ignore the Knicks’ interest and wait to become the next head coach of the San Antonio Spurs.