Becky Hammon wins WNBA Coach of the Year in first season

Matt Marton-USA TODAY Sports
Matt Marton-USA TODAY Sports /

Becky Hammon finally got her shot as a head coach and she did not disappoint, winning WNBA Coach of the Year in her first season with the Aces.

Becky Hammon’s first season at the helm of the Las Vegas Aces has gone swimmingly. They finished with a 26-10 record, the second-highest win percentage in franchise history, boasted the league’s best offense by a wide margin and secured the No. 1 seed in the playoffs. They’ve already advanced past the Washington Mystics and are now set to match up the Seattle Storm for a chance to move to the WNBA Finals.

As the league’s postseason awards have begun to roll in, it was no surprise to see Hammon honored as the best coach in the WNBA this season.

Becky Hammon transformed the Las Vegas Aces in her WNBA Coach of the Year campaign

The Aces had boasted a win percentage of 0.716 over the past three seasons, twice finishing with the best record in the Western Conference. But their interior-heavy, twin-tower approach seemed to have them sputtering in the postseason. They did win a title in the pandemic-shortened 2020 season but were knocked out in the second round of the playoffs twice as well.

In replacing previous head coach Bill Laimbeer, Hammon modernized the offense, downsizing rotations and moving more shot attempts beyond the arc. The Aces averaged just 13.5 3-point attempts per game in 2021, dead-last in the league. They nearly doubled that number this season, attempting 26.4 and making a league-best 36.1 percent.

Hammon’s revamped offense laid the groundwork for career years from Kelsey Plum and Jackie Young and it’s likely she’s not the only Ace to take home a postseason award. A’ja Wilson is one of the frontrunners for both MVP and Defensive Player of the Year and both Plum and Young have a strong case for Most Improved.

The Aces will begin their second-round series against the Storm at home, Sunday, August 28, at 4 p.m. ET on ESPN.

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