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Los Angeles

Will Milwaukee ‘buck’ old tradition — and hire Hammon?



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The NBA has been around for seven decades, and in that time we’ve seen plenty of walls built and taken down.

If what was recently reported turns out to become reality, we might see the biggest wall of them all crumble to the ground. Per a report from ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, the Milwaukee Bucks are planning to interview San Antonio Spurs assistant coach Becky Hammon to fill their vacant head coaching spot.

Hammon, 41, is no stranger to setting a high bar. After a decorated 16-year career in the WNBA (ranked as one of the top 15 players in league history), Hammon was hired by the Spurs as the first female full-time assistant coach. The hire was also notable as the first of its kind in any of the four major American professional sports leagues.

In her four years with San Antonio, she has guided their 2015 Summer League team to a championship, and helped legendary coach Gregg Popovich oversee a squad that has been to the playoffs 21 consecutive seasons, tied for the second-longest streak in NBA history.

There’s no doubt that Hammon, with her innate basketball knowledge and Pop’s tutelage, will be a great attribute for a young, but somewhat inexperienced Milwaukee squad. And her experience with coaching one of the best power forwards of all-time (Tim Duncan) while also dealing with a smart veteran squad will be of great use.

If she gets the job, she’ll be tasked with the further development of future perennial All-Star Giannis “The Greek Freak” Antentokounmpo and Khris Middleton. Hammon herself was a career 39 percent shooter from 3-point range; the biggest knock on Antentokounmpo is his lack of a jumper. If Hammon can help him develop that into a deadly weapon…she’ll have already been a major improvement over former head coach Jason Kidd.

While we’re here, let’s not forget the Buck’s management for taking this bold step in even bringing her in for an interview. Jon Horst, who was the director of player operations for nine seasons before taking over as general mamager last summer, was aware that change was necessary after their seven-game, first-round playoff ouster at the hands of a star-less Boston Celtics squad.

Without Gordon Hayward or Kyrie Irving available, the Bucks should have been able to run circles around Boston. But interim head coach Joe Prunty was visibly outcoached by Brad Stevens; some of the matchups Prunty drew up were borderline criminal, and gave the Bucks no fighting chance in some cases.

By looking at Hammon, Horst is looking to bring some of the “Spurs Way” traits to a young squad that could truly benefit from it. If Hammon ends up with the job, Milwaukee will only go up from where they currently stand.

Chris Bullock
Chris Bullock
Before joining The Ball Out, Chris Bullock was part of SB Nation's Swish Appeal for nearly three years, covering everything women's basketball. Chris has had the honor of doing live coverage of the WNBA Finals, the NCAA Tournament, and also was given his own column, "The Triple Double". A self-described "foodaholic", Chris lives in the San Diego area with his wife and two daughters, and also hosts his own podcast, "Conscious Cravings", where he speaks about his experience as a mental health advocate.

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