Monty Williams Really Doesn’t Care, and that Makes All the Difference in the World

By:
Published: November 18, 2010

An hour and a half before every game, the same scene plays out in the New Orleans Arena. Monty Williams stands boldly against the wall just outside the Hornets locker room as nearly two dozen reporters surround him looking for a great soundbite. Williams answers each question openly and honestly, with seemingly nothing to hide. He talks about his team’s great start and their goals for the season. He will tell you about film sessions and the messages he preached to his team the night before. In fact, Monty will talk about almost anything, as long as it relates to the New Orleans Hornets. But if you are looking to get any insight from Monty about other teams in the league, you’re out of luck, and it’s not because Monty doesn’t know; he just doesn’t care.

Three Dallas reporters squeeze their way in to the front of the line and shove their digital recorders in Monty’s face. The first one fires away:

“So you know Dalls is the #1 zoning team in the league- Do you think that is the reason for their defensive improvement?”

“I didn’t even know they ranked that- how do you rank who has the best zoning team?”

REJECTED!

Reporter #2- “Well, why do you think Dallas has improved so much on the defensive end?”

“Those guys have been together a couple years now. If they didn’t have it together by now, I’d be worried. But really, I don’t care why they’re playing the way they are, I just know we have gotta go out there and play our game.”

NEXT! NO SOUND BITE FOR YOU!

Reporter #3- “Dallas does play a lot of zone and not a lot of other teams in the league play it as much or as well as they do, so does that pose a problem?”

“We see zones every day in practice, so we know what to do against them. I tell the guys that they have to be more aggressive, and we can’t worry about what the other team is doing. We just gotta play our own game.”

Williams. Game. Set. Match.

He’s not being a jerk, he’s not being arrogant- he’s just being himself and his focus has been singular since he took the job. His only concern is how this team improves each and every day, because he knows that there are only a handful of things within his control. Unlike a certain coach in Disney World, he doesn’t care about how the Heat are doing. He will not lead the Hornets into LA and talk about how the Lakers are his dream job like a certain ex-coach did in the past. He’s not positioning himself to be a future analyst or front office executive- he is simply in the moment with this team, working on making steps each and every day, and that more than perhaps any other single reason is why the Hornets are where they are today.

11 comments
Ron
Ron

Dallas question #3 was actually good and thoughtful. Question #2 was kinda stupid (do they think that Monty is a suntanned Rick Carlisle?), and obviously #1 was completely inane.

otherMark
otherMark

This is good stuff. When I think "uncompromising, narrowly focused (...on defense and executing the game plan), no BS, no sound bytes" the first coaches I think of are Jerry Sloan and Pop. Whether Monty innately has the same demeanor, or he is consciously emulating it, I think it bodes well for him sustaining this success for the long haul.

kzoz21
kzoz21

Gotta say that I was one of the people that really want Thibodeau and was worried that had hired Williams to appease CP. So far though it looks as though Williams has been the right choice, and his defense is just as good Thibodeau's was supposed to be. Living in the Northeast has allowed me to see a lot of Atlantic Division games. I loved Lou Williams and hated Green, but William's has even made Willie Green not terrible. Still wish they'd traded for Lou instead who's been great and made Hollinger's Most Improved team. This also eliminates the need for Bayless My only gripe with Williams is his determination to play Bayless, who's proven to be awful. Drop the Portland ties and Bayless probably doesn't even dress. Other than that he's been great

Stew
Stew

During the post game show on 106.7 last night they played a clip of someone asking Monty whether or not we should expect to see Marcus Thornton on the court anytime soon. His answer was something like "No. Probably not." I was like "damn, bro. Tell it like it is why don't you." Brutal honesty can be refreshing.

42
42

Good one. This idea that you have to love and respect the other teams, the players, etc. is ridiculous. You are playing pros. They can ruin your game, ruin your day, ruin your career, and ruin your dream. They are not to be loved and respected; they are to be defeated. All that jive is from someone who had a chance to taste defeat and never took their fair bite. Cowards, fools, weaklings. You have to respect the damage your enemy can do to you, and how they struggle helps you to improve . . . but your enemy is your enemy. They have no face, they have no name. They are there to trample or be trampled. Fodder. No Mercy. Fear does not exist in this dojo. Pain does not exist in this dojo. Defeat does not exist in this dojo. I applaud Monty. John Kreese was corrupting children; Monty is preparing stand-in soldiers for our happy-proxy-war, just like the other teams are doing, or should be doing. Proof positive: Di_k swept the leg. If that's not Cobra Kai, I don't know what is. And, yes, it all goes back to him not having a sense of entitlement. He struggles. He has unfinished business. I'll spare the Bon Jovi lyrics. His pain is a gain for us all, hopefully.

D. Highmore
D. Highmore

@42: You're the best around. Nothing's gonna ever keep you down.

42
42

You're all right, LaRusso!

thechosenuno
thechosenuno

Importantly, I think the team is buying into coach's mindset. When you see them in interviews, all they talk about is playing their game and improving their game. Everything else flows from that. Let's go Bees! Can't wait for us to show Bryon what it's like to have a Hornets team with a real coach.

buzz
buzz

I love the new coach and the way the hornets are playing, and obviously want us to destroy Cleveland. But not because I want to rub it into Byron's face, he did take us to the conference semi-finals and win coach of the year. You've got to give him some credit. Anyway go hornets!!!

Dariusz Ejkiewicz
Dariusz Ejkiewicz

Love the mind set like that. Feels like he cares about this team greatly and that will payback to him for sure.

JNR
JNR

"That Monty Williams is a jerk! We tried to get him to talk about how awesome our team is and he wouldn't do it!" Who needs that sort of soundbite anyway?