‘Pioneers’ like Becky Hammon, who coaches the Spurs to the Summer League title, are paving the way for women in the NBA, says commissioner Adam Silver.
After former WNBA star Becky Hammon led the Spurs’ entry to the Summer League title in Las Vegas, commissioner Adam Silver envisions a day when there will be a female head coach in the NBA.
“No doubt about it,” Silver said Wednesday in Newark. “I guarantee, you see the number of women playing our sport, you see the number of women in the WNBA and you see increasingly the number of women working in the NBA.
“I think just like we’ve seen enormous change in our society in the last decade, I think that’s another ceiling, another barrier that will be broken.”
Hammon, who starred for the first eight of her 16 WNBA seasons with the Liberty, served as an assistant coach under Gregg Popovich last season in San Antonio — making her the first full-time female assistant on an NBA coaching staff.
“It takes women like Becky being out there,” Silver said. “You need pioneers. And there have been other pioneers before her, but you couldn’t ask for more of a complete package as far as a former player, a student of the game and somebody who’s able to work in a strong organization like the Spurs… I couldn’t be prouder of Becky.”
Silver also addressed the recently discussed possibility of the league changing its postseason seeding, whereby the teams with the top eight records in each conference would make the playoffs regardless of where they stand in their respective divisions.
“Number one, we’ve looked at it a fair amount and discussed it both at the competition committee and at the board,” Silver said. “First of all, it’s never happened before that a division winner did not finish within the top eight.
And our basketball analytics folks calculate that there is a less than a 5% chance that it would happen.
“Where we’re leaning right now is that we would not guarantee a spot for a division winner in part because it’s unlikely to happen, and number two, if it does happen, it would be potentially confusing to fans. Number three, you would be displacing a team that did have a top-eight record. So while we’re gonna continue to discuss it a little bit more, we need to make that decision before the preseason begins. I think the greater likelihood is we will not be guaranteeing a spot to a division winner.”
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