Initial thoughts on the Hornets coaching change

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Published: November 12, 2009

If you missed all the news earlier today, check here.

And now for a few bullet points to gather my scattered thoughts:

  • Last basketball season was very disappointing for New Orleans sports fans. At the beginning, the Hornets were talked about as championship contenders, then they struggled to a 49-33 record and got humiliated by the Nuggets in the Playoffs. But you couldn’t blame Byron for the team’s failings last season, not with all the injuries the Hornets had. This season, the Hornets have been close to full health, and Byron was working with a roster that Chris Paul called the best he’s ever been a part of. A 3-6 start just wasn’t god enough, especially with most of the losses being blowouts.
  • I’m reminded of Byron’s words when he won the Coach of the Year award after the Hornets’ magical 2007-08 season. Scott was asked if the reward meant redemption after his fall from grace in New Jersey:

    “It’s all so fickle, just such a fickle league. People can change on you in a second.”

    Such is life.

  • My biggest concern with the Hornets firing Byron Scott was who they would get to replace him. I’m liking the direction they’re headed in though, by handing the reigns to Jeff Bower and bringing back Tim Floyd as an assistant. Bower has his critics, but I have faith in the man. He quietly goes about his business and takes calculated risks. Sure, some of those risks haven’t panned out (check the money Peja and Posey are making), but this is the NBA, where injuries are unpredictable and you often have to overpay to attract guys to a smaller market. Let’s not forget how much he accomplished with very little wiggle room this past summer, getting good value for Tyson Chandler, bringing in Ike Diogu and landing two promising rookies, all while cutting salary.
  • But how will Bower fare as head coach? I’d be worried if he was rolling with the same assistants as Byron, but having Tim Floyd at his side alleviates some concern. Floyd was fired in 2004 after one season as head coach of the Hornets, but the issue back then was that he couldn’t control the egos on the roster, most notably Baron Davis. Now the Hornets have a team full of high-character guys that are craving some solid direction at both ends of the floor, and Floyd should be able to help immediately with that. He’s more likely to draw up an effective play or call for a timely adjustment during a timeout, which will be a nice change from Byron telling the players that they just need to try harder and box out more.

    And if nothing else, rest assured that we’ll see less cat fights in New Orleans now that Tim Floyd is back in town.

  • Should we be worried about how Chris Paul is taking this news? Byron Scott is the only NBA coach he’s ever had, and they apparently got along quite well. Hell, they were golfing together just two days ago!

    But I don’t expect it to be an issue. Chris is first and foremost a competitor. He wants to win, plain and simple. Byron Scott wasn’t helping the Hornets win much anymore, and CP is smart enough to know that a change was warranted. I’m excited to see how he’ll be used in a revamped Hornets offense. Don’t be surprised to see his stats take a hit since he won’t be asked to dominate the ball as much, but that should lead to more team success.

  • It’s almost a year to the day since I started souring on Byron Scott.
  • Does this change make the Hornets instantly better? Not really, although it wouldn’t surprise me to see our guys stick it to the Blazers tomorrow night.  (See, I tend to believe those rumors that the players had quit on Scott, and if that was indeed the case, they should show some signs of relief and rejuvenation next game.)

    Obviously it will take Bower and Floyd some time to get the players familiar with different offensive and defensive strategies, but aside from that we’re still left with a weakness at shooting guard and two aging small forwards. Those are issues that the team might not be able to address until next summer.

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