In February, the Las Vegas Aces and owner Mark Davis raised eyebrows around the WNBA when they signed Becky Hammon to a record $1 million per season contract.
The sum was meant to entice Hammon away from her assistant role with the San Antonio Spurs, where she may have been the heir apparent to Gregg Popovich.
After a 78-71 victory Sunday to claim the franchise’s first title — and the first for a Las Vegas professional sports team — no one should doubt Hammon or the Aces anymore.
Hammon, who was also named the 2022 WNBA Coach of the Year, is the first head coach to win a title in her first year on the job, as well as the first former player to win a title as head coach.
Hammon’s squad — constructed by former HC and president of basketball operations Bill Laimbeer, and current general manager Natalie Williams — is full of accolades itself and is built to contend for years to come.
- A’ja Wilson re-signed with the Aces (2 YRS, $398K) this past offseason; she won her second WNBA MVP this season.
- Chelsea Gray re-upped with Las Vegas (2 YRS, $392K) this past offseason; after being snubbed for the All-Star team earlier this season, she was named WNBA Finals MVP.
- Jackie Young — the 2022 WNBA Most Improved Player — signed an extension (2 YRS, $335K) in May.
- Kelsey Plum signed a two-year extension in July — a week after she was named the 2022 All-Star Game MVP.
The squad was dominant all season, also taking home the Commissioner’s Cup.
Assuming the Aces are the favorites to repeat next season, it would put a stop to an era of parity in the W: Including Las Vegas, three of the league’s last four champions were first-time winners.