Monty Williams: Coach of the Year???



After Mason's article asking how Derrick Rose could be considered for MVP this year considers Chris Paul's snub a few years ago (answer: I have no idea. I don't understand why Rose is a better MVP candidate than CP3 this year!), I thought I'd look at another Hornet who I feel is getting snubbed in the awards voting category: Monty Williams.

From everything I've read, Monty is getting exactly ZERO consideration for coach of the year (hereafter referred to as COY), and it doesn't make sense to me. The consensus seems to be Tom Thibodeau is the COY because he's lead the Bulls to the best record in the East (and still a shot at the best record in the league) despite missing Joakim Noah and Carlos Boozer for a combined 50-60 games or so. I'll agree that Thibodeau has done a great job with the Bulls, and he deserves to be considered. But he took over a young, talented team that had made the playoffs two years in a row (and five of the past six) and had just added a two time all star in the prime of his career. So yes, he's done a nice job, but this team was primed for success with or without him. Sure, they've had some injury problems, but they're also one of the deepest teams in the league (especially in the front court), so it wasn't like they were replacing Noah and Boozer with say, D.J. Mbenga or David Anderson. Those two (basically scrubs and end of the bench players for most other teams) played significant minutes when the Hornets ran into injury problems with Oak missing a few games earlier in the season. Not only that, they also played as semi regular parts of the rotation when the Hornets were still sorting their rotation out. Name me one other team that would even consider those both of those two as part of their rotation. Seriously. Name one. Doesn't even have to be a playoff team.

And that's what it comes down to. Monty Williams has done the most with the least this season, and if that's not the definition of the COY, I don't know what is. Not just the least talent, but the least help all around. Williams took over a team in a city still recovering from the worst natural disaster in the history of the United States and reeling from an oil spill that ground its two major industries (energy and tourism) to a halt. Despite that (and rumors his star player wanted out), he led the Hornets to the best start in franchise history. Then, a third of the way through the season, his team became the first in league history to be taken over by the NBA. Rumors flew and writers speculated the team may be shut down or players would refuse to play for the team. Monty kept his teams' collective head on a swivel and brought them to the cusp of the playoffs.

How bad was his talent compared to other teams? By my count Chris Paul would be the only player on the Hornets who could even break into the Lakers line up. In addition, CP3 would be the only player from the Hornets who could crack the starting line up for a full five of the other six Western Conference playoff teams (Mavs, Spurs, Thunder, Grizzlies, and Blazers (ok, Oak might edge Marcus Camby out at center for the Blazers). Looking at our full rotation, none of our shooting guards (including Beli, our "starter") would even crack the rotation for the majority of playoff teams, and, with Landry a starter now, none of our back ups would crack the rotation for almost every other playoff team. In other words, our team is one of the least talented in the league, but Monty created a system to maximize their talents and utilize a team approach to overcome those deficiencies.

So, man up COY voters. Look past the top of the standings and away from the big markets. The rightful coach of the year is sitting here in the south. He might not be flashy or loud, but between the remnants of Katrina, an oil spill, and the threat of contraction (plus a lack of talent!), he's overcome more than any coach in the league to lead his team to the playoffs!

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