3 Lingering Questions from the Spurs' 2021-22 Season

Lonnie Walker, Keita Bates-Diop, Zach Collins
Lonnie Walker, Keita Bates-Diop, Zach Collins / C. Morgan Engel/GettyImages
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The San Antonio Spurs ended the 2021-22 season in a better place than any fan could have reasonably expected going in.

They moved Derrick White and Thaddeus Young to accumulate a total of three 1st round picks next season, have a ton of money to spend this offseason, have some of the best young players in the league with Keldon Johnson and Devin Vassell, and Dejounte Murray finally reached superstar status. Oh, and they had a shot to compete in the playoffs despite finishing with 34 wins.

In a season that should be marked by massive strides forward for the organization, there is really nothing negative to take away from the season. The Spurs defied preseason expectations and helped ruin one of the most hyped Lakers seasons ever. Overall, it was a great cornerstone for the next Spurs dynasty to build off of moving forward.

Just because there are no negatives that jump to mind, though, that doesn’t mean fans are left entirely confident about the future. After over 82 games of basketball, there are still a few unanswered questions from the season that left me scratching my head. 

Becky Hammon, Mitch Johnson, Gregg Popovich, Bennie Adams
New Orleans Pelicans v San Antonio Spurs / Ronald Cortes/GettyImages

1. Why Did the Spurs Part Ways with Becky Hammon?

After a summer that looked like Spurs’ assistant Becky Hammon would finally snag a head coaching job in the NBA, Chauncey Billups and Wes Unseld Jr. took the roles as head coaches for Portland and Washington. No matter, Hammon could simply return to San Antonio as a top assistant coach and reap the rewards of her hard work after Coach Popovich decides to retire, right?

With only two or three years of coaching left at most, it would seem that Hammon didn’t have much longer to wait before she took over one of the most storied and progressive franchises in all of the sports. However, she opted to take the reigns of the WNBA’s Las Vegas Aces after this season ends.

Hammon’s move to the WNBA left me feeling conflicted. On one hand, I was thrilled she would get to lead a team herself, and the Aces were, at one point, known as the San Antonio Stars, where Hammon was a three-time All-Star. In purely emotional terms, the move made sense for Hammon as an individual. As one of the better-known former WNBA players, she could help grow the league and increase its popularity.

On the other hand, it seemed like Hammon was being groomed for an NBA job, and it looked like the offers were going to start coming soon. Yes, it did take a few too many years for her to be seriously considered as an NBA head coach, but with Popovich on the way out and a tumultuous coaching landscape, she could have grabbed a well-deserved job. On top of that, the Aces' current coach, Bill Laimbeer, is one of the best coaches in WNBA history, so I’m not sure why the Aces would want to part ways with him. 

I’m sure there were reasons that haven’t been shared or that I simply do not understand, but it raised eyebrows that the Spurs would let Hammon walk when it seemed like she was the frontrunner for the head coach job in the very near future.