The Las Vegas Aces’ Becky Hammon was named 2022 WNBA Coach of the Yr, the league introduced Friday, making her the primary former WNBA participant to win the award in her debut season as head coach.
Hammon earned 27 of 56 votes from a panel of sports activities media members, whereas the Atlanta Dream’s Tanisha Wright — one other former WNBA player-turned-coach — got here in second with 18. The Chicago Sky’s James Wade obtained eight, whereas Dallas’ Vickie Johnson, Phoenix’s Vanessa Nygaard and Washington’s Mike Thibault every collected one.
Hammon turns into the seventh coach in WNBA historical past to take house Coach of the Yr honors of their first season.
The No. 1-seeded Aces, whom Hammon guided to a 26-10 regular-season end, will tackle the fourth-seeded Seattle Storm in a best-of-five semifinal sequence starting Sunday. The Aces’ regular-season profitable share (.722) is the second-highest profitable share ever for a rookie head coach.
Las Vegas is hoping to earn a franchise-first WNBA title after advancing to a minimum of the semifinals every of the earlier three years underneath Invoice Laimbeer. If the Aces win the title, Hammon would turn out to be the primary first-year head coach to get a WNBA championship since Van Chancellor did it with the Houston Comets within the league’s inaugural season in 1997.
Following the departure of Laimbeer this previous offseason, Hammon got here in desperate to implement a pace-and-space, read-heavy offense that includes a barrage of 3-pointers, a far cry from Laimbeer’s extra old-school method predicated on getting the ball into the submit. The Aces thrived underneath the brand new model: Hammon’s 9-1 begin to the common season signified the perfect 10-game starting to a head-coaching profession in league historical past, and the staff’s .722 regular-season profitable share is the third greatest in franchise historical past. Hammon additionally guided the Aces to profitable the second annual Commissioner’s Cup championship sport final month, 93-83 over Chicago, whereas additionally main Workforce Wilson to victory within the 2022 All-Star Sport.
Alongside the way in which, Vegas’ new offense has damaged a slew of WNBA information: It hit probably the most 3s in any sport final week with 23 within the first-round playoff matchup in opposition to the Phoenix Mercury, and its 90.4 factors per sport marked the third-highest scoring common in league historical past, and the very best since 2010.
Hammon’s beginning 5 — A’ja Wilson, Jackie Younger, Chelsea Grey and former reserves Kelsey Plum and Dearica Hamby — emerged as one of the vital deadly lineups within the league. 4 of the 5 had been named All-Stars earlier this season, together with MVP candidate Wilson, Most Improved prospect Younger and anticipated all-WNBA choice Plum, whereas Grey obtained her due when named MVP of the Commissioner’s Cup championship sport.
Hammon’s storied WNBA enjoying profession spanned 16 seasons, together with eight with the San Antonio Silver Stars, the precursor to the Aces previous to the franchise’s transfer. She was not too long ago named one of many 25 biggest gamers in league historical past. After her enjoying profession concluded, Hammon served eight seasons as an assistant coach for the San Antonio Spurs, with whom she turned the primary full-time feminine assistant in NBA historical past.