Hollins: Hammon Can "Definitely" Coach In NBA

If Becky Hammon can win over a locker room, the X's and O's will fall into place

After Hours With Amy Lawrence
May 14, 2018 - 9:33 am

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Becky Hammon could become the first female head coach in NBA history, and many current and former basketball players, including Ryan Hollins, believe that would be good for the game.

“I think that would be really cool,” the former NBA center and current ESPN analyst told Zach Gelb, who was filling in as host of After Hours with Amy Lawrence. “I made a joke the other day: The only way that I’ll cheer for Toronto is if Becky Hammon gets the job. But coaching now, these players have changed so much. These young kids, these millennials, have changed, so what has to change then? The coach has to change.”

Hammon, 41, became the first full-time female assistant coach in the NBA in 2014 with the San Antonio Spurs. She is an emerging candidate to fill the Milwaukee Bucks’ head-coaching vacancy.

“You got to have somebody who can relate (to players),” Hollins said. If Becky Hammon can get the respect of that locker room, the X’s and O’s fall into place. Honestly, I don’t want to say that’s the easy part and discredit a guy like Brad Stevens, but she’s pretty darn good at what she does. If she can get the respect of that locker room and these young cell-phone, Twitter-, Instagram-using millennials, she can definitely coach in the NBA. She’ll be all right.”

As for the aforementioned Raptors, Hollins was not a fan of the firing of Dwane Casey, who was fired after leading the team to a franchise-record 59 wins and winning Coach of the Year.

“I thought he was the scapegoat for what happened,” Hollins said, referring to the Raptors second-round sweep against Cleveland. “I don’t think that you say just because you didn’t have the personnel to play against LeBorn that what you’ve done is a wash. Look at the Celtics. What did Danny Ainge go out and do this offseason? He stockpiled a bunch of 6-7 and 6-8 versatile players. Literally that’s all that he drafted, all that he brought in. For what? This moment right here to guard LeBron. Toronto didn’t do the same thing. Toronto didn’t have an enforcer. Toronto didn’t have a player in that lineup that was physical, so I don’t know what difference of outcome they expected to see. 

“Ultimately, I’m very disappointed in that firing,” Hollins continued. “If anything, with all due respect, it should have been the GM (Masai Ujiri) that went or they should have waited another year to see what they could have done personnel-wise. I did not think Coach Casey was a problem.”