How many WNBA players have trained in the NBA? – JWS

Former WNBA star Candice Dupree entered the NBA coaching ranks on Friday.

The San Antonio Spurs brought the seven-time All-Star to Gregg Popovich’s staff as an assistant, a position that set Becky Hammon on the road to success. Hammon worked as an assistant for the Spurs for eight seasons and left earlier this year to guide the Las Vegas Aces to a WNBA title in their first season as head coach.

When Hammon joined the Spurs in 2014, she became the first WNBA player to coach in the NBA. The number of WNBA players who follow their path remains small, but has increased in recent years.

A total of 16 women have coached in the NBA. Dupree becomes the 10th current or former WNBA player to coach in the NBA, and she joins four other current or former WNBA players as an active coach in the men’s league.

WNBA players are supposed to train in the NBA

Becky Hammon
San Antonio Spurs, 2014-22

After retiring from the San Antonio Stars of the WNBA in 2014, Hammon joined the Spurs and became the first woman to serve as a full-time assistant coach in one of North America’s big four men’s professional leagues.

She also became the first woman to serve as an assistant head coach in NBA history when Popovich was kicked out of a game in December 2020.

She left the Spurs to join the Aces and led the team to a 26-10 record and a WNBA championship in her debut season.

Nancy Lieberman
Sacramento Kings, 2015-17

Lieberman coached the Detroit Shock of the WNBA from 1998 to 2000. She later coached the Texas Legends of the NBA Developmental League from 2009 to 2011, becoming the first woman to coach a men’s professional basketball team.

In 2015, she was hired by the Kings as an assistant coach and spent two seasons with Sacramento.

Jenny Bucek
Sacramento Kings, 2017-18
Dallas Mavericks, 2018-21
Indiana Pacers, since 2021

Boucek spent 18 seasons as an assistant and head coach in the WNBA before moving to the NBA.

She joined the Kings in 2017 as a player development coach and became an assistant coach for the Dallas Mavericks in 2018. In 2021, she joined the Indiana Pacers with head coach Rick Carlisle, who hired her for his Mavericks staff.

Kristi Toliver
Washington Wizards, 2018-20
Dallas Mavericks, since 2021

As an active player in the WNBA with the Los Angeles Sparks, Toliver also works as an assistant coach in the NBA. She started with the Wizards in 2018 while playing for the Mystics, then joined the Mavericks in 2021.

Niele Ivey
Memphis Grizzlies, 2019-20

Before becoming the head coach of the Notre Dame women’s basketball team, she spent the 2019-20 NBA season as an assistant with the Grizzlies.

Kara Lawson
Boston Celtics, 2019-20

Like Ivey, Lawson coached with the Celtics for a season before moving into the collegiate ranks as coach of the Duke women’s team.

Lindsey Harding
Philly 76ers, 2019
Sacramento Kings, since 2019

Harding began her coaching career as a player development coach for the 76ers, then transitioned to fill the same role for the Sacramento Kings.

Teresa Weather Spoon
New Orleans Pelicans, since 2020

The five-time WNBA All-Star was the head coach of her alma mater Louisiana Tech’s women’s basketball program for six seasons. She was appointed part-time player development coach in 2019 and full-time assistant coach in 2020.

Edniesha Curry
Portland Trail Blazers (2021-22)

Curry worked as an assistant coach for the women’s and then men’s basketball teams at the University of Maine before joining the Trail Blazers in 2021.

Candice Dupree
San Antonio Spurs (since 2022)

A 2014 WNBA champion with the Phoenix Mercury participated in the NBA Assistant Coaches Program (ACP), created to expand the player-to-coach pipeline, and joined the Spurs in September.

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