Progress continues to be made in the NBA, as another team has added a woman to its bench as an assistant coach. This time, the Sacramento Kings diversified their coaching staff by hiring Nancy Lieberman as an assistant to head coach George Karl. Basketball betting experts should take notice, as her expertise will aid a franchise in desperate need of a calming influence.
Lieberman, an accomplished player in the women’s game, joins the Kings after a stint coaching the Texas Legends of the NBA’s Developmental League. She becomes the second woman to earn a full-time assistant coaching role in the current NBA, with the other being Becky Hammon of the San Antonio Spurs.
Sacramento Presents A Challenge
For Lieberman, she enters a team that is in complete disarray. The Sacramento Kings have routinely been one of the NBA’s worst teams for the better part of the last decade, and don’t appear to be trending in a positive direction despite piling up high draft picks following each losing season.
Their current head coach is George Karl, who has had a very successful career, but has also run into some issues managing this Kings team. Chief among those issues is maintaining a relationship with all-star center DeMarcus Cousins. Cousins, while very skilled, is known to be a bit of an emotionally erratic player, and has run into issues getting along with teammates and coaches during his professional career.
Karl also beat cancer before returning to the Kings, and many have questioned whether or not he has the same desire to be a ruthless competitor since gaining the perspective that comes with overcoming such tremendous adversity.
All of these things provide for a more chaotic environment for Lieberman, whose ability to manage a group of players in the D-League who were openly looking to graduate to the higher level competition of the NBA will be an asset with the number of conflicting egos and personalities on this Kings team. Basketball tipsters would be smart to monitor this team’s chemistry heading into the season to see if she’s had an effect.
Becky Blazed The Trail
Lieberman was sure to thank Becky Hammon for helping her to get in the door in Sacramento, citing Hammon’s success with the Spurs as one of the reasons that the Kings opened the door to her. Hammon, a wildly successful WNBA player prior to her coaching career, moved from her assistant role to a head coaching role for the Spurs during this year’s NBA Summer League, a competition she led the team to victory in.
There’s no doubt that Hammon has the ability to be a head coach in the NBA, as she proved with that Summer League championship. While both her and Lieberman are surely happy to have their current jobs in professional basketball, one would hope that they can both work their way up to head coaching jobs.
Both Hammon and Lieberman are great role models for girls and young women, who are seeing more and more that they can play and coach at the highest levels of the sport as the culture of the game becomes more inclusive.
By: Jason M. Sanin