What Becky Hammon's WNBA coaching hire means for the Las Vegas Aces, the league and her NBA future

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After playing her final game for the San Antonio Stars in August of 2014, she moved on to an assistant coaching role with the NBA's San Antonio Spurs. She's returning to the WNBA after eight seasons as a player, and in a roundabout way, she spent her entire career with the same franchise.

The Las Vegas Aces will try to become the first team to win a title under the direction of Hammon. The Utah Starzz was the original team of the league. The franchise moved to San Antonio in 2003 and then to Las Vegas in the year 2000. The jersey of Hammon was retired by the Aces this past season, and now she will be coaching in the rafters.

The past four seasons, Bill Laimbeer has coached the Aces to a 77-45 record, but they have lost in the semifinals in the past two years. While it's not clear what role, if any, he will have with the franchise, he has set a very good foundation for the Aces. Can he get them across the finish line?

We look at what the coaching move means for the NBA, the WNBA and the Aces.

What style does he bring to the team?

As a player, he was respected. The story of her being a free agent after graduating from Colorado State in 1999 has always needed an asterisk, because that was the year when so many American Basketball League players came into the WNBA, which influenced how many college players were picked in that draft.

She already had enough motivation when she was a 5-foot-8 guard from a mid-major school, so she always used going undrafted as another motivation. She made believers out of everyone when she was in the WNBA. She was on four teams that made the playoffs in the NBA and the WNBA, including the New York Knicks and San Antonio Spurs.

She was fearless in driving the lane, could hit big perimeter shots, was very good at distributing the ball and helped build the confidence of everyone around her.

As a coach, she can get tough, but she's also an uplifting motivator. A'ja Wilson is one of the best players in the world, so Hammon will be cultivating that relationship.

She got to know the guard when she was a member of the San Antonio Spurs, who relocated to Las Vegas. She has a lot to offer the guards from her experience as a perimeter player. Her years of coaching in the NBA gave her a good idea of Las Vegas' strength in the interior.

What does this hire mean for the team?

The franchise is close to a title. Dan Padover, the former general manager of the Aces, left in October to become the GM of the Atlanta Dream. The general manager role is something that has experience in with the head-coaching jobs he has had in Detroit and New York.

Mark Davis, who bought the franchise in January, has already made a number of changes with the team, including bringing in a former LSU coach as team president and a former WNBA player as chief business development officer. He seems to be committed to the team being a gold-standard franchise.

Wilson was the 2020 Most Valuable Player and is only 25 years old. She is a restricted free agent and Liz is an unrestricted free agent.

Las Vegas earned the No. 2 seed in the NBA playoffs in the 2020 season, thanks in part to the gold medal winning basketball players from the Tokyo Games.

Plum had her best season in the league. The past few years, she, Young and Hamby have been consistent contributors. In 2020, Angel McCoughtry was a good fit as a free-agent signee. Hopefully, he is back to full strength in time for 2022. Las Vegas should be a strong contender again if Cambage returns.

What does this move mean for the NBA?

Many assumed that Hammon was on her way to becoming an NBA head coach, as she is in her eighth season as a Spurs assistant.

It's hard to say who it will be or when, but it's less likely that Hammon will be the first woman to make that breakthrough. If she is successful with the Aces and wins a title, she could return to the NBA and become the first woman to lead a team. Maybe she doesn't return at all.

During the 2009 season, the NBA's NBA assistant coach, Bill Laimbeer, left the league to work in the NBA. He came back to the NBA with the New York Knicks after he thought he wouldn't get a chance to be an NBA head coach.

It's very difficult to get a head-coaching position in the NBA, and we can't say for certain how many teams have given her a chance.

Maybe this move will allow her to prove herself in a different way. Maybe it's what she needs right now. There will be a lot of excitement among the fans.

It's not clear what it means for women in the NBA. It will take one franchise to make a bold move to put a woman in charge as head coach, despite Commissioner Adam Silver pushing the league to bring women in a lot of different roles.

Who are the favorites for the other head-coaching jobs?

The Liberty job opened earlier this month and the thought was that the franchise could lure Hammon. According to sources, she interviewed the Liberty.

Sandy Brondello, the former coach of the Phoenix Mercury, is the favorite for the New York job. Sources say that Mercury assistant Chasity Melvin and Sparks assistant Latricia Trammell are in the running for the Phoenix job.