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Williams is Not Promising an Up-Tempo Offense
Well, I’ve listened to his introduction and the other interviews he’s conducted, and wanted a make a few points. First, Monty is a solid speaker. He doesn’t hem or haw, he answers questions directly, and has a fairly deep impressive voice. I know that sounds shallow, but these things actually do help when you are trying to command the respect of a group of men who may have very different agendas.
The Hornets’ Offense
ESPN.com’s headline stated “Williams plans up-tempo style as Hornets coach” and at first, I sighed and rolled my eyes. Byron Scott promised that every year. It seems like a right of passage that every new head coach comes in and announces that they are going to get their players to run and get easy buckets. It also true that it almost never happens, because, as I like to say, “the buckets may be easy, but the running isn’t”.
However, I don’t think he promises an up-tempo offense at all. Through the three interviews I’ve heard, he’s stated “Everyone wants to play fast”, but he also qualifies that statement every time. He doesn’t want an attempt to play fast to increase the team’s turnovers. He wants Paul and Collison be creative in the open court, but then immediately says the team needs to add structure to create better spacing and take advantage of the double teams Paul and West command. These aren’t the words of a guy who just wants to run, run, run.
Really, this shouldn’t be that surprising. You have to remember his background – he comes from Portland and San Antonio. Those may be the two teams that are most selective about when to get out in transition, and instead rely on spacing the floor expertly, using the corner three, and requiring unselfish passing from their players. They have not been fast-break teams, but they have been very efficient – which is a term he used several times.
The Hornets’ Defense
Defensively, he’s made variations of the same statement over and over: “I feel like David and Emeka got a lot of flak for giving up a lot of paint points . I think defense starts with ball pressure. Our guards and wings have to help them hold the paint down and then rebound.” He’s made it clear he understands the teams defense was its problem. That, and its rebounding.
In that, he’s absolutely correct. I’ve been re-watching last season’s games over the last week and every one of the perimeter players were regularly beaten for layups. No – the bigs weren’t the best at rotating to cover the guard – or each other if one did rotate to cover the guard, but the perimeter defense wasn’t anything to write home about either.
As for his staff, he’s been fairly close-mouthed. He’ll talk about how he hopes to put together a veteran squad to help point out mistakes he freely admits he’ll make, but as to the status of New Orleans current assistants – or just whom he expects to add to the bench, he’s been entirely mum.
I’d expect, though, that we’ll be finding out who fills those positions, particularly his lead assistant, over the next week or so. Personally, if Pack really did develop Collison and Thornton the way people are suggesting, then I’d hope he’d retain him.
I also sort of hope he’ll keep Rob Werdann, because I find it strangely hilarious to see him sitting next to Paul every game, nodding with a fixed smile on his face as Paul talks his ear off. I’m nearly convinced that was what he was hired for. “Okay, Rob. You have one duty: Sit next to Paul on game days and let him to talk to you. Be attentive. Nod a lot. Otherwise, I’m not going to be able to think.”