Trail Blazers hire Billups over Dawn Staley, Becky Hammon

Becky Hammon (right, with Las Vegas Aces owner Mark Davis)

Becky Hammon (proper, with Las Vegas Aces proprietor Mark Davis)
Photo: Getty Images

Becky Hammon and Dawn Staley had been actually proper there.

But, as a substitute of creating historical past by being the primary NBA group to hire a lady as their head coach, the Portland Trail Blazers selected former level guard Chauncy Billups — and he led them to one of many worst seasons in franchise historical past.

This is what misogyny seems to be like.

On a day — Tuesday, Sept. 20 — when Hammon and the Las Vegas Aces will maintain theirs championship parade on The Strip in Sin City, it is a good time to remind people simply how unhealthy Portland screwed this up. There had been solely 5 groups that had a worse file than the Trail Blazers final season, as they solely gained two of their final 23 video games. And sure, the group misplaced Damian Lillard in January to a season-ending harm, in addition to buying and selling away their second-best participant in CJ McCollum to New Orleans. But how do you clarify going 27-55 with a rookie head coach when the 2 candidates you handed on lower down nets this 12 months?

The reply is an easy one: Making dumb selections is simply what this franchise likes to do.

In 1984, this was the group that took Sam Bowie over Michael Jordan within the draft. And do not give me that “But they already had Clyde Drexler” excuse. You make it work.

In 2007, this was the group that took Greg Oden over Kevin Durant within the draft. And do not give me that “But, we nonetheless thought you wanted a giant man to win” excuse. It was clear as day that Durant was a transcendent expertise.

And in 2021, this was the group that selected Billups over Hammon and Staley to be their head coach. And do not give me that “however, he has expertise in NBA locker rooms” excuse. The Trail Blazers employed Billups when he solely had one 12 months as an assistant because the lone teaching expertise on his resume in comparison with the eight seasons that Hammon spent on the San Antonio Spurs workers.

There’s additionally the drama that also hangs over Billups.

“Jason (from Quick The Athletic), we respect your query, we have addressed this. It’s been requested and answered so completely happy to maneuver on to the subsequent query right here,” a Trail Blazers worker stated as he lower off a reporter’s follow-up query to Billups throughout his introductory press convention.

Billups confronted a sexual assault allegation in 1997. And earlier than the Trail Blazers shut down any questions on it, Billups took to the mic to say that the state of affairs “(has) impacted each choice that I make, you realize, it actually has. It’s formed me in some unbelievable methods.” And after former Trail Blazers General Manager Neil Olshey — who was fired in December of 2021 on account of experiences that he created a poisonous work surroundings inside the group — advised experiences to “take our phrase” on the group’s “thorough investigation” into the matter, it was reported the group by no means contacted Billups’ accuser or bought statements from different key figures from the investigation.

Incompetence is as a lot part of this franchise’s DNA as is their unhealthy decision-making.

“I include a variety of credentials,” Staley advised the New York Times in June of final 12 months. “I definitely have the boldness. I absolutely can stand in entrance of males and lead them. First-team All-Stars. MVPs. I’m OK with that.” Since Staley stated that — and when Billups was employed — she’s gained an Olympics gold medal as the pinnacle coach of Team USA and the 2021 Women’s NCAA Tournament, making her the primary Black coach — of any gender — to win a number of championships on the highest stage of school basketball.

And by way of Hammon? Well, on high of main the Aces to their first WNBA title in her first season as a head coach, the highest-paid coach within the league bought an opportunity to indicate folks that she was a star after being repeatedly handed over for NBA jobs.

“Every laborious factor that I’ve gone via has constructed one thing in me that I’ve wanted down the street, and though it sucks within the second to not be picked or to get damage or no matter it is likely to be, the laborious stuff builds stuff in you that is essential for all times and you will use it down the street. It could not really feel prefer it in that second,” she stated after the Aces defeated the Connecticut Sun, 3-1, within the WNBA Finals.

“For me, it is not likely about proving different folks improper, it is about proving myself proper.”

The Portland Trail Blazers hold getting it improper. And for a franchise that has messed issues up so many instances prior to now, you’d have thought that they’d have tried to vary their misfortunes by hiring Staley or Hammon after bringing them in for interviews. But, they did what they all the time do and selected improper by sticking with the “protected alternative.”

Don’t be stunned in case you see Dawn Staley on the Las Vegas Aces parade on Tuesday, as she’ll greater than seemingly be readily available to have fun with A’ja Wilson — her former star participant. And in a second wherein girls will likely be ingesting in celebration — and being celebrated for his or her teaching excellence — the powers that be in Portland will in all probability simply be ingesting their sorrows away, once more.

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