Monty, Take a Tip From Rex

Published: January 22, 2011

No one will ever mistake Monty Williams for Rex Ryan. They coach different sports. They use different styles. They are certainly in different weight classes.

But I think, in the midst of our second longest winning streak of the season, Monty Williams needs to pick up the phone and get some advice from the New York Jets coach. Specifically, he needs to learn how to pump his team up under the “underdog” banner.

Anyone who pays attention to the NFL can see that Rex Ryan’s constant buffoonery and blustering doesn’t seem to make sense. After all, how can you continually refer to your team as an underdog, yet say things like “Same old Jets, in the AFC Championship”? He always speaks with confidence, knowing that he can lead his team against the Colts, the Patriots, and tomorrow against the Steelers.

But the important thing about the Jets’ underdog status isn’t about whether we or the media believe it. It’s about whether the players believe it. And right now, they have bought in 100%.

The post-game interview with Bart Scott should show that. He yelled about how the Patriots got more attention for their defense, which isn’t necessarily true. But what is true is that Bart Scott completely believed it was true.

That’s what we need with our Hornets.

The only difference between the underdog status of the Hornets and that of the Jets is that there is a LOT more evidence for the Hornets case. A prime example is the Weekend Dime from this weekend, fifteen hours removed from one of the biggest drubbings of the season by any team. There is not one mention of player or organization. In fact, there is a quote panel about all the stories of interest in the NBA, and still nothing about the big seasons from either of our three stars (yes, Emeka is turning himself into one of our stars). 

Small markets get the silent treatment a lot of the time, and I understand that. What I want is for Monty to use that. To use the silent treatment and show his players that the only way to make the media and the country at large care is to not go away. To beat the Celtics, the Lakers, Spurs and Magic. 

Tonight’s game should help, but even if the Hornets increase their winning streak to eight, they may get a blurb on Sportscenter and that’s it. And if that’s the case, then it’s even easier for Monty to use it to his advantage.

It won’t be easy, but Monty should watch some of Rex Ryan’s press conferences and think of what to say to his men. He seems like the cerebral coach, not the type to let his mouth write checks his team can’t cash. But if the Hornets want to make the world notice, to storm into the playoffs and be in contention for a championship, they need to believe that no one cares, and that they can change that.


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