Steve: Calls to "Fire Monty" as Pelicans coach are unfair
by Steve Geller,posted Apr 17 2014 4:35PM
The Pelicans 2013-14 season is mercifully in the books, as the team finished 12th out of 15 teams in the Western Conference with a record of 38-48. I say mercifully not because they were an abomination to watch, but because I fear the team would lose even more guys if they kept playing, as the injury bug was more like an injury plague this year.
Julius Caesar was warned “beware the Ides of March”; well, it would have been nice if someone had given head coach Monty Williams a heads-up about what he was in store for back in January.
It all started with forward Ryan Anderson going down with a freak injury. Anderson fell on his back and suffered a herniated disc. Done for the year.
Then, point guard Jrue Holiday followed about a week later, with a stress fracture in his right tibia. Ultimately, Holiday was ruled out for the entire season after 34 games played.
We aren’t done with January yet, as center/forward Jason Smith would be the month’s final victim of season-ending injuries. He hurt his shoulder, and like those previously mentioned, needed surgery and would not suit up again this year.
New Orleans core five - Anthony Davis, Eric Gordon, Tyreke Evans, Holiday and Anderson - played a total of 12 games together.
Even then, Davis and Gordon would join the infirmary later in the season. AD was rested the final 5 games of the year due to back spasms, while Gordon’s last game was in late March as it was revealed he needed arthroscopic surgery on his left knee.
Injures are part of the game as we all know, but this season for the Pelicans was just insanity. With so many players hurt, the team obviously struggled with back-ups now being forced to play starters’ minutes. Wouldn’t you know it, the “Fire Monty” chatter began and is still going.
But I ask, how is it his fault? Being critical of Monty’s lineups while his resources are so limited due to injuries is just unfair to me. You have to give Monty another shot to prove he is the guy for the job with a healthy line-up. He is considered one of the better coaches in the NBA, after all. If he wasn’t, Team USA would not have brought him on as an assistant. Besides, who are you going to replace him with?
If you ask Monty, he certainly isn’t losing sleep over his job status with the Pelicans.
"That's not something we talk about at all," Williams said. "Mickey Loomis is the only guy that I answer to when it comes to that kind of stuff, and it's not something that comes up. We are in a production business and you have to produce. And we all know that.”
Looking at what the Pelicans need to add next season, the position that jumps to the forefront is center. The team needs a big guy that is physical down low and can own the paint. The Pels ranked 22nd overall in rebounding out of 30 ballclubs this past season.
Don’t expect the draft to help, since the team will likely not have a 1st round draft pick. Philadelphia owns it unless a miracle occurs and the Pelicans end up in the top 5 after the NBA draft lottery. Don’t hold your breath, though, as those odds are at only 4%.
So that means free agency. Who are some options that will be available on the open market this summer, you ask? I won’t lie; the position is thin with Marcin Gortat, Andrew Bynum and Greg Oden really being the only names worth mentioning and that isn’t saying much. GM Dell Demps may be going overseas to find a big man or make a trade. Only Anthony Davis is untouchable.