After opening the season an astonishingly disappointing 1-10, the New Orleans Pelicans have some serious work to do.
But it shouldn’t be this way.
How can a rising playoff team, with an MVP candidate with insane potential, fall off the NBA map so hard? With Anthony Davis on the team, one of the league’s best defensive players, how are the Pelicans playing as one of the worst defenses in the league?
Well, the Pelicans’ offseason may have an explanation for the recent failures.
With arguably one of the worst offseason decisions I have seen in a while, Monty Williams (173-221), current Thunder assistant coach and former Pelicans head coach, was let go by the front office after exiting in the first round against the first seed Golden State Warriors.
Now, there have been plenty of coaches seen in quite a while that have had great success, yet to still be let go. Scott Brooks of the Thunder, Mark Jackson of the Golden State Warriors, George Karl of the Denver Nuggets, and plenty of other coaches have been successful, only to get shown the door at the end of their seasons.
However, there is a reoccurring theme with all of these coaches. All of them have had consistent success, only to come up short numerous times.
Monty Williams was at the helm of a rising team. A team that was missing a winning season since 2010-11, that finally got back into the playoffs.
Williams wasn’t given a chance to actually develop his team, unlike Scott Brooks, who kept moving his team up the NBA ranks, all the way to an NBA championship series. While he didn’t actually win a title, he was provided numerous chances to do so. Williams was only presented with one.
Williams also had to account for the constant injuries to key players in his system. Eric Gordon, Jrue Holiday, and Ryan Anderson all had their share of injuries, hurting the Pelicans during certain stretches.
Even when his squad was somewhat healthy in their first-round appearance, no one besides Norris Cole had playoff experience. It is important to take note that the Pelicans played the first-seed Golden State Warriors, while dealing with league-MVP Stephen Curry.
Williams also boasted a better defense, ranking 22nd overall in the league last year. Now? The league’s absolute worst. Sure, 22nd in the league isn’t the best, but it’s something; Something they made the playoffs with. The Pelicans have digressed on offense as well.
Williams is also known to be popular with players and fans, who were considerably upset about his firing.
As the season goes on, the Pelicans may finally get back on track. However, with this big of a hole they’ve dug themselves into, one could only imagine the damage the Pelicans may have done with the now-Thunder assistant.