If Bobby Marks were running an NBA franchise and had an opening for a head coach, he has no doubt who he would call first.
“It wouldn’t just be because they went 6-1 in Summer League and beat Phoenix in the finals,” the former NBA executive said on CBS Sports Radio’s Gio and Jones. “I think she has started to prove her merit. She is paying her dues like a lot of the assistant coaches working up the ranks. She played in the league. She was a point guard. That’s your on-field quarterback. She’s being tutored by probably the best coach we’ve seen in a long time in Gregg Popovich. I’m just impressed as heck with her. I was out in Las Vegas the last week or two, and I got a close upfront view of her, sitting a couple rows behind her bench and just seeing how she commanded respect from these guys. And I know only a couple of them will be on the actual roster, but she’s just got a certain characteristic that I have not seen in many people. She’s got a little bit of what Jason (Kidd) had when we had him in Brooklyn – and it took him a little bit to figure it out, but there’s no reason why if there’s an opening and it’s the right fit that she shouldn’t be on the list of people to bring in to talk with and given the opportunity just like everyone else.”
Most forward-thinking people would agree with that, but what about the case of, say, Brian Shaw? Shaw won three NBA titles as a player, two as a coach, and earned the respect of NBA Hall of Famers along the way. And yet, he couldn’t get through or relate to the players he coached in Denver, and ultimately, he was fired.
If Shaw couldn’t command the respect of his players, how would Hammon?
“Well, I think every team is different as far as what the personalities are in that locker room,” Marks said. “If there is an opening in a situation where they have some headstrong personalities, then maybe it isn’t the right fit. And I think that’s going to be up to either a Becky Hammon or a Patrick Ewing or if it’s another assistant coach that you’re going to bring in and interview. They’ll wind up doing homework on your roster probably more than you’ll do on them. There’s 30 NBA teams out there. Every situation is totally different. We had Jason in Brooklyn and we had a very tough locker room. We had a lot of veterans, and it took a guy like Jason Kidd – who had a great career – it took him five, six months to kind of figure out what direction to go with this group.
“My suggestion would be to her: just because there’s an opening, that doesn’t mean you have to take it,” Marks continued. “Because if that opportunity doesn’t work then you’re going to be behind the 8-ball to try to get back in. It’s going to take a little while for Brian Shaw to get back into that head coaching circle, so every situation is totally different. Every team makeup is totally different. I think a lot of it will come from your front-office support. If you’ve got a strong general manager, if you’ve got a strong ownership group and stuff like that, that’s kind of half the battle right there.”