Dunk That Sh!t: Looking for the Bright Spots

Published: February 3, 2012

You asked us if there are things to look forward to. Did we find them?

Al-Farouq Aminu dunking it during a depressing loss at home

Dunk That Sh!t comes to you every Friday with the Hornets247 writers turning their attention from the team to you, the Hornets247 community, answering questions directly and in dunktastic fashion. If you want the guys (and bloke, but I think he dunks up) dunk your question, just submit it to the editor at mcnamarahornets247@yahoo.com with the subject line “Dunk That Sh!t” or via twitter @hornets247 with hashtag #DunkThatSh!t.

1. Phil Album / Email : “Do any Hornets have a realistic shot in being involved in All-Star Weekend?”

Michael McNamara: If I had to handicap it, I would go:

Gustavo Ayon (Rookie/Soph game): 6 to 1
Marco Belinelli (3-point Contest): 20 to 1
Al-Farouq Aminu (Rookie/Soph game): 35 to 1
Emeka Okafor (All-Star Game): 50 to 1
Greivis Vasquez (Rookie/Soph game): 50 to 1
Squeeky Johnson (Dunk Contest): 1000 to 1

So, basically, it is Gustavo or bust unless Marco gets crazy hot over the next couple of weeks from deep. Ayon has a good chance, however, if he continues to get 15-20 minutes per game. There should be 3-4 big men on the rookie team and Ayon is right there with a group that includes: Jon Leuer, Enes Kanter, Tristan Thompson, Nikola Vucevic, Markieff Morris, Josh Harrellson, and Greg Stiemsma. Of those guys Kanter is the only virtual lock, partly because of his play and partly because of where he was drafted. Three or four more games like the one he had against OKC, and the Goose will be loose in Orlando later this month.

2. @T_Choroforno / Twitter : “Is there any chance that the Hornets go after any of the guys coming back from China to help us out this year?”

Joe Gerrity: Even though Mike has the odds thing going, I’ll still go with a simple no. Kenyon Martin is already rumored to be headed to the Clippers,  but simply put, the Hornets are out of the playoff race already, and nobody coming from China is someone I would expect Monty or Dell to covet for the rebuilding process.

3. @JessTT / Twitter : “What is Monty’s contract status and what will he have to do in order to get an extension whenever his deal is up?”

Jason Calmes: On June 7, 2010 Tavares Montgomery Williams Jr. signed a three-year deal with the New Orleans Hornets Head Coach. That deal is likely one of the lowest five deals in the NBA, and could very well be the lowest. The deal has an option for a fourth. I assume this is a team option, as Monty would have had even less leverage than the Hornets in the negotiations.

I see three main factors affecting a coach’s tenure with a team, including an extension: performance, the whim/decision of an owner, and the market for coaches.

We don’t know what the market will be, but if the Hornets could land a top-shelf head coach, Monty could be shown the door in 2013. We’ll keep an eye on that as teams start to trim fat as the tax starts squeezing teams like rebels in a trash compactor. Landing that coach, by the way: big money and good players are prerequisites. Monty could also be in demand by other teams, but I think he genuinely likes it here even with his employer in upheaval for the duration of his status as employee.

All things considered, I think Monty is performing above expectations. I can only see him getting better. This shouldn’t play into the decision negatively, except in terms of attracting other suitors.

Ownership is the variable here. If Mr. Chouest is brought into the fold, this is Monty’s best shot, as Mr. Chouest was a minority owner at the time of the hire and the presumptive owner, this hire coming about six weeks after the announced transfer that never happened. If it’s another owner looking to make a mark, Monty could be out sooner than later, even sooner than 2013.

Lagniappe: I think the same applies to Dell, but his record seems to be a little better than Monty, partially because he’s not under the microscope as much. I’m not sure he’s as rooted in the city as Monty seems to be and may attract more suitors.

Dunk That Sh!t is a weekly piece that you can find every Friday only on Hornets247.com. Click here to browse through the series.


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