Becky Hammon and Daybreak Staley had been actually proper there.
However, as a substitute of constructing historical past by being the primary NBA workforce to rent a girl as their head coach, the Portland Path Blazers selected former level guard Chauncy Billups — and he led them to one of many worst seasons in franchise historical past.
That is what misogyny appears like.
On a day — Tuesday, Sept. 20 — when Hammon and the Las Vegas Aces will maintain their championship parade on The Strip in Sin Metropolis, it’s a good time to remind people simply how unhealthy Portland screwed this up. There have been solely 5 groups that had a worse document than the Path Blazers final season, as they solely gained two of their final 23 video games. And sure, the workforce misplaced Damian Lillard in January to a season-ending damage, in addition to buying and selling away their second-best participant in CJ McCollum to New Orleans. However how do you clarify going 27-55 with a rookie head coach when the 2 candidates you handed on minimize down nets this 12 months?
The reply is a straightforward one: Making dumb choices is simply what this franchise likes to do.
In 1984, this was the workforce that took Sam Bowie over Michael Jordan within the draft. And don’t give me that “However they already had Clyde Drexler” excuse. You make it work.
In 2007, this was the team that took Greg Oden over Kevin Durant in the draft. And don’t give me that “But, we still thought you needed a big man to win” excuse. It was clear as day that Durant was a transcendent talent.
And in 2021, this was the team that chose Billups over Hammon and Staley to be their head coach. And don’t give me that “but, he has experience in NBA locker rooms” excuse. The Trail Blazers hired Billups when he only had one year as an assistant as the lone coaching experience on his resume compared to the eight seasons that Hammon spent on the San Antonio Spurs staff.
There’s also the drama that still hangs over Billups.
“Jason (Quick from The Athletic), we appreciate your question, we’ve addressed this. It’s been asked and answered so happy to move on to the next question here,” a Trail Blazers employee said as he cut off a reporter’s follow-up question to Billups during his introductory press conference.
Billups faced a sexual assault allegation in 1997. And before the Trail Blazers shut down any questions about it, Billups took to the mic to say that the scenario “(has) impacted each choice that I make, , it actually has. It’s formed me in some unbelievable methods.” And after former Path Blazers Normal Supervisor Neil Olshey — who was fired in December of 2021 attributable to reviews that he created a poisonous work atmosphere inside the group — advised reviews to “take our phrase” on the workforce’s “thorough investigation” into the matter, it was reported the workforce by no means contacted Billups’ accuser or acquired 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 loads of credentials,” Staley advised the New York Instances in June of final 12 months. “I certainly have the arrogance. I certainly can stand in entrance of males and lead them. First-team All-Stars. MVPs. I’m OK with that.” Since Staley mentioned that — and when Billups was employed — she’s gained an Olympics gold medal as the pinnacle coach of Crew USA and the 2021 Girls’s NCAA Event, making her the primary Black coach — of any gender — to win a number of championships on the highest degree of faculty basketball.
And when it comes to Hammon? Properly, 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 acquired an opportunity to indicate those who she was a star after being repeatedly handed over for NBA jobs.
“Each onerous factor that I’ve gone by means of has constructed one thing in me that I’ve wanted down the highway, and regardless that it sucks within the second to to not be picked or to get damage or no matter it may be, the onerous stuff builds stuff in you that’s vital for all times and also you’ll use it down the highway. It could not really feel prefer it in that second,” she mentioned after the Aces defeated the Connecticut Solar, 3-1, within the WNBA Finals.
“For me, it’s not likely about proving different folks unsuitable, it’s about proving myself proper.”
The Portland Path Blazers maintain getting it unsuitable. And for a franchise that has messed issues up so many occasions previously, you’ll have thought that they’d have tried to alter their misfortunes by hiring Staley or Hammon after bringing them in for interviews. However, they did what they all the time do and selected unsuitable by sticking with the “protected alternative.”
Don’t be shocked in the event you see Daybreak Staley on the Las Vegas Aces parade on Tuesday, as she’ll greater than doubtless be available to have a good time with A’ja Wilson — her former star participant. And in a second through which girls will probably be ingesting in celebration — and being celebrated for his or her teaching excellence — the powers that be in Portland will most likely simply be ingesting their sorrows away, once more.