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Gregg Popovich on Becky Hammon: ‘She’s a coach, and she’s good at it’

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Gregg Popovich isn’t the kind of person to pass out praise unless it is truly deserved — even to his own players, coaches and underlings — so the fact that he had nothing but glowing things to say about Becky Hammon speaks volumes.

Hammon of course has been the toast of the NBA after coaching the San Antonio Spurs Summer League team to a championship in Las Vegas earlier this week. While it’s hardly surprising that Hammon is a big story given she became the first full-time female assistant in the NBA last season and then had so much success in the summer league, Popovich insists her gender has absolutely nothing to do with why he hired her and that her coaching acumen speaks for itself.

“It became huge when we hired her, and now it’s even bigger because of the summer league situation. But we didn’t even think about that stuff,” Popovich said in an interview on San Francisco’s KNBR radio, via an ESPN report.

Popovich stressed the fact that Hammon is a woman should have nothing to do with how her performance is judged, nor does he feel that she became the first female to serve as head coach in the summer leagues makes one lick of difference.

“I don’t even look at it as, well, she’s the first female this and that and the other,” he said. “She’s a coach, and she’s good at it. I think some people thought this was some kind of gimmick or we were just trying to be cool. I’m glad she’s there … That was her purpose at summer league, and she did a great job trying to make guys play the way we wanted them to play.”

Pop is as straight a shooter as they come, so it can be understood that he is telling it exactly as he sees it: That Hammon is a top-notch coach with a future in the NBA. After all, Adam Silver even said there is “no doubt” Hammon will one day be an NBA head coach.

Both Silver’s thoughts and Popovich’s no-nonsense endorsement speaks volumes. It’s difficult to dispute that Hammon is a rising star in the NBA coaching ranks.