Dell Demps, the General Manager of the New Orleans Pelicans, announced on May 12 that Monty Williams would not be brought back as the head coach of the Pelicans. This surprised some fans, as it was a few weeks after the Pelicans had made their first playoff appearance since 2011. Now the question is, who is going to be Monty Williams replacement? Williams navigated the tough Western Conference and injuries to get a young team into the playoffs, and seemed to have a good relationship with superstar Anthony Davis. Grant Hughes of Bleacher Report put a list together of some of the best potential replacements. Below are a few and some thoughts on the potential hire.
The Chicago Bulls were just eliminated from the playoffs last night and word around the NBA says that Tom Thibodeau is out as head coach. His relationship with management soured, which makes me cautious about his potential to be able to work with a GM who clearly needs to make more moves like Dell Demps. Thibodeau is a proven winner, having never had a losing season in Chicago despite the myriad of injuries he had to coach around. On the flip side, a lot of people blame those injuries on his demanding coaching style. He would be a good hire to sure up some of the defenseive pitfalls the Pelicans had last season, but his histoy of running his superstars into the ground is worrisome.
Thought to have some of the same weaknesses that Monty Williams had as an X and Os coach, some would be worried about Scott Brooks. However, I think this hire works well. Brooks had issues with X and Os sometimes because of the impossible task of trying to configure an offense around both Russel Westbrook and Kevin Durant. Brooks helped both players develop, something that Anthony Davis still needs to do if he wants to be the best player in the league. Also, Brooks brings a bevy of playoff experience to the young Pelicans team.
It seems like a long time ago when D'Antoni and Steve Nash were putting up crazy offensive numbers in Pheonix. However, I think that this is Hughes most intriguing idea. Although D'Antoni has had recent stints that went sour with the New York Knicks and Los Angeles Lakers, those situations were basically doomed from the beginning. If D'Antoni could get Anthony Davis and Jrue Holiday to run the floor and become more lethal in the pick and roll, there would be no stopping the Pelican offense. The one glaring issue with this hire besides its high-risk, high-reward potential is that D'Antoni has never been known as a good defensive teacher.