Trail Blazers Hire Billups on Don Staley, Becky Hammon

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

Becky Hyman (right, with Las Vegas Aces owner Mark Davis)
photo, Getty Images

Becky Hyman and Don Staley were literally there.

But, instead of making history by becoming the first NBA team to appoint a woman as their head coach, the Portland Trail Blazers picked former point guard Chancey Billups—and he led them to one of the worst seasons in franchise history .

This is what Misogyny looks like.

Day One – Tuesday, September 20 – When Hyman and the Las Vegas Aces Have Their Own Events Championship Parade on The Strip in Sin CityWell, it’s a good time to remind people just how bad Portland made it. There were only five teams that had a worse record than the Trail Blazers last season, as they won only two of their last 23 matches. And yes, the team lost Damien Lillard to a season-ending injury in January, as well as losing its second-best player in CJ McCallum away from New Orleans. But how do you explain going 27-55 with a rookie head coach, when you’ve passed two candidates on the cut-down net this year?

The answer is simple: making silly decisions is what it’s like to franchise.

In 1984, this was the team that took Sam Bowie over Michael Jordan in the draft. And don’t give me that “but 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 condition “(Has) influenced every decision I make, you know, it really. It’s shaped me in some incredible ways.” and after former Trail Blazers general manager Neil Olsche – who was fired in December 2021 due to Reports that he created a toxic work environment within the organization – told the report to “take our word” on the team’s “in-depth investigation” into the matter, it was reported The team never contacted the accuser of the billups or obtained statements from other key figures from the investigation.

Incompetence is as much part of this franchise’s DNA as their making the wrong decisions.

“I come with a lot of credentials,” Staley told the New York Times in June last year, “I definitely have confidence. I can definitely stand up to men and lead them. First-team All-Stars. MVP. I’m OK with that.” Since Staley said that — and when the Billups were hired — she has won Olympic gold medals as head coach of Team USA and the 2021 Women’s NCAA Tournament, making her the first Black coach of any gender — of college basketball to win multiple championships at the highest level.

And in terms of Hamman? Well, after leading the Aces to their first WNBA title in his first season as a head coach, the highest-paid coach in the league got a chance to show people how to get NBA jobs over and over again. She was a star after she passed.

“Every hard thing I’ve gone through has created something in me that I need on the road, and even though it sucks in the moment that can’t be picked up or hurt or whatever, The hard stuff builds up inside you things that are essential to life and you’ll use it on the road. It can’t feel like that at the moment,” she said after defeating the Connecticut Suns 3-1 in the WNBA Finals.

“For me, it’s not really about proving other people wrong, it’s about proving myself right.”

The Portland Trail Blazers keep getting it wrong. And for a franchise that has messed things up several times in the past, you might have thought they tried to turn their misfortune around after bringing in Staley or Hammon to interview them. But, they did what they always did and chose the wrong one, sticking with the “safe option”.

Don’t be surprised if you see Don Staley at the Las Vegas Aces parade on Tuesday, as he’ll be on hand as much as possible to celebrate alongside his former star player – Aja Wilson. And in a moment in which women will be drink in celebration – and being celebrated for his coaching excellence – the powers that be in Portland will probably be re-drinking his misery.

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