Photo Courtesy of Jerome Miron/USA Today Sports-Lyndsey Harding

The NBA is constantly evolving. And it is not just on the court. The game has changed with exciting young players like Anthony Edwards, Luka Donic, Jayson Tatum and more, but off the court, men and women close to the game are making an impact. Whether it is in the front office, on the sidelines or behind the desk (as a commentator), there are those who are doing great things and pushing the league forward. With that said, it is time to recognize the women who are making waves on the sidelines and bringing their expertise and knowledge of the game to their respective teams. Here are four female assistant coaches making waves in the NBA.

1.) Brittni Donaldson

Uni Athletics

Brittni Donaldson is an assistant coach for the Atlanta Hawks. She joined the Hawks when they hired their current head coach Quin Snyder last year. Before joining the Hawks, Donaldson was an assistant coach for the Detroit Pistons. However, the start of her assistant coaching career began with the Toronto Raptors. Donaldson was hired by the Toronto Raptors in 2017 as a Data Analyst. As a member of the Raptors’ staff, she also received a championship when the Raptors won in 2019.

After the Raptors won it all, Donaldson was promoted to assistant coach. At 30-years-old, Donaldson already has extensive assistant coaching experience. And she made history in the process by being the first female coaching hire in franchise history for all three NBA teams she has been with (Raptors, Pistons, Hawks). She also has some experience outside of the NBA as she was an assistant coach for the Hamilton Honey Badgers of the Canadian Elite Basketball League (CEBL). The Honey Badgers won a championship while she was with them. Donaldson is making an impact everywhere she goes.

2.) Jenny Boucek

NBA Coaches Association

Jenny Boucek is an assistant coach for the Indiana Pacers. She joined the Pacers in 2021 when Rick Carlisle joined the franchise for his second stint. Carlisle coached the Dallas Mavericks before that, and he had Boucek on his Mavericks staff from 2018 to 2021. Boucek has plenty of coaching experience, as before joining the Mavericks and Pacers, she was an assistant coach for the Sacramento Kings. Before that, she was coaching throughout the WNBA. She was an assistant for the Washington Mystics, the Miami Sol and the Seattle Storm (who she was also head coach for later on). She was also a head coach for the Sacramento Monarchs.

Boucek is a two-time champion as an assistant coach. She won championships in 2004 and 2010. (both with the Storm). Boucek knows the game, and being with a young, talented team like the Pacers is the perfect opportunity to share her wisdom.

3.) Sonia Raman

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Sonia Raman is an assistant coach for the Memphis Grizzlies. She joined the Grizzlies in 2020. Before that, she was the head coach of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) women’s basketball team. Raman became the first Indian-American woman and the 14th woman to be named an NBA head coach.

Raman also does work in areas such as analytics and player development.

4.) Lindsey Harding

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Lindsey Harding is the head coach of the G-League affiliate of the Sacramento Kings (known as Stockton Kings). This opportunity came about as Harding spent time as an assistant coach for the Kings. Prior to her time with the Kings, she was a player development coach for the Philadelphia 76ers.

Harding was an established WNBA player prior to her coaching years. She was the first pick of the 2007 WNBA draft. She was selected by the Phoenix Mercury. However, she was traded to the Minnesota Lynx the same day. She later played for the Washington Mystics, the Atlanta Dream, the Los Angeles Sparks and the New York Liberty. She finished her career with the Mercury (who of course drafted her). Harding also has coaching experience outside the NBA, as she served as head coach for the South Sudan women’s team. She also coaches the Mexican Women’s Senior National Team.

The NBA has had its share of female assistant coaches. Nancy Liberman was an assistant for the Sacramento Kings. Now she is the head coach of Power of the Big3 league (which she led to a championship). Becky Hammon was an assistant coach for the San Antonio Spurs before joining the Las Vegas Aces (and leading them to championships). Teresa Weatherspoon was an assistant coach for the New Orleans Pelicans before being hired by the Chicago Sky. Hammon and others show what is possible when given an opportunity, and as those like Harding and Raman succeed in the NBA, they are paving the way for others to come after them. 

#NBAWomen, #BreakingBarriers, #WomenInSports

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