Monty Williams Appears Set to Coach New Orleans
And it looks like the Hornets’ coaching search is over. ESPN is reporting that the Hornets and Portland assistant coach Monty Williams have come to an agreement now that Tom Thibodeau appears to have chosen Chicago over the Big Easy. From the very beginning, it was reported that the Hornets wanted Thibodeau, but would be happy to go after Monty Williams if that didn’t pan out. It didn’t.
Welcome to New Orleans, Mr. Williams.
Now, I’ll admit that I know next to nothing about our new coach. I don’t really pay a ton of attention to assistant coaches, and honestly would have a hard time naming all of the Hornets assistant coaches without thinking about it for a minute or so. I always forget about Charlie Parker. Sorry, Charlie.
Happily, our good friend and fellow Truehoop Network member Ezra Caraeff of The Portland Roundball Society kindly offered to give us an overview of our new coach.
While most Blazer fans knew their Coach of the Year lobbying on behalf of Nate McMillan wouldn’t keep that trophy off Scotty Brooks’ mantle, they felt obligated to do so anyways. With the plague of faulty ligaments and other ailments that crippled Portland’s season, McMillan was seen as the man who held things together long enough for his team to limp into the postseason. However, he wasn’t the only man.
People outside the injury cloud that blanketed the Rose Garden tend to forget that McMillan himself was shelved during the season, tearing an achilles while playing in practice (the Blazers ran out of warm bodies and he had to play – try that, Stan Van Gundy). With McMillan out, Monty Williams seamlessly switched chairs and coached the Blazers (a role he shared with the more senior assistant, Dean Demopoulos). Williams was a natural fit, picking up where McMillan left off and easily commanded the respect of the players.
After that, though Monty Williams isn’t the first Blazers assistant to be rumored for a head coaching position, it seemed clear that his fate on the bench was inevitable. While William’s on-court bravery (playing in the NBA against doctor’s orders due to his Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy), leadership, and pedigree in the Spurs coaching kennel are noteworthy, Williams proudest achievement is a 21-year-old that wears #88 and speaks French. Nicolas Batum was a late first round sleeper two years back, a raw player that few teams knew much about. But in two short seasons (even less when you consider that he missed a large portion of this year following shoulder surgery), Batum has blossomed into one of the better defenders in the league, and a player with a staggering amount of discipline and ability on the hardwood. His success is directly linked to Williams, who took Batum under his wing and taught him to be the perfect role player and tenacious defender that has the unfortunate chore of covering names like Bryant, Anthony, and Durant on a nightly basis.
Truth be told, no decent Blazer supporter wants Williams to go anywhere. While Williams clearly has the skills to run a franchise from the sideline, it’s his ability to nurture and groom upcoming players that is truly invaluable.
Hornets fans are lucky to have this man on their side.
Thanks again to Ezra and The Portland Roundball Society.