- Earlier today on the Jim Rome radio show, Monty Williams made a guest appearance. The following is a brief synopsis:
- Monty claims it's hard to judge last season due to all the injuries, but the organization is setting the goal of making the playoffs this upcoming season.
- Anthony Davis has exceeded Monty's expectations on being this good, this early in his career. He claims AD has put forth the effort, and combined with his character and talent, it's not all that surprising. Davis can become the best player in the league but he has to overcome a lot including winning more.
- Biggest keys for improvement next year? 1) Health. 2) Need for an anchor for AD in the middle (which the Pelicans are currently addressing). 3) The need for more shooting. 4) The return of a defensive mindset similar to what it was in Monty's first year as head coach.
- Russ Smith is 'different.' Monty had just watched him practice and stated he's got something you can't teach; however, the coaching staff is preaching fundamentals, like Rick Pitino, so that he'll be able to find a spot in the NBA. Monty likes the chip on his shoulder but now he'll be playing against NBA players. For instance, he stated Smith will need to learn how to handle CP3 coming at his head.
- Monty, during a phone conference with Krzyzewski, Boeheim and Colangelo, claimed (in a joking manner) he doesn't feel like he belongs on the coaching staff of USA basketball during a phone conference.
- Monty was happy to see Gregg Popovich win the last championship but wants to win one himself. Spurs are a great benchmark for the rest of the league and Monty claims the Pelicans similiarly preach team concepts.
- Over at Bourbon Street Shots, Michael McNamara wrote an article depicting how LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony are currently holding the league captive.
And as the moratorium lurks on Thursday, Dell Demps timetable to make a move or series of moves to absorb Asik without giving away pieces he deems valuable is getting smaller and smaller. In all likelihood, the Rockets will demand that the Pelicans put in the trade to the league the second that the Moratorium is lifted so that they could have significant cap room.
Ideally, Dell would have liked to put in the Asik trade after he submitted a couple of other moves or put it in as a three-team trade to preserve his MLE, BAE, and Bird Rights. But what if he can’t get anybody else to agree to other moves because the league is at a standstill, waiting onLebron and Melo? This is the worse case scenario for Demps, and something he couldn’t have predicted back on June 26th.
He's absolutely right. In addition, one of my hopes, moving Eric Gordon via another team's trade exception, is nearing an end. The 4 largest trade exceptions, BOS, DEN, GSW and OKC, are unfortunately fast approaching expiration.
- Not only do the Pelicans still need to go through the legwork of absorbing Omer Asik, they also need to plug the huge hole at shooting forward. With the moves made in the last two off-seasons, it's instrumental the Pelicans cease filling the position with stopgaps. Although I likewise disagreed with the tone of Brian's post, there is no denying that winning now has become the club's priority.
No doubt many of us have developed an affinity for much of the roster, whether due to fit, need or potential, but someone will need to be sacrificed. Maybe several others. The Pelicans wouldn't be interested in Jameer Nelson if Austin Rivers was safe. The same goes for a number of other players from last season. Since the team chose to skip a long-term re-build through assets long ago, fans shouldn't be satisfied until all glaring holes have been addressed. None of this is to say I'm unhappy with the recent moves, but if we've chosen a path, it's important to follow through. Playoffs, and hopefully beyond, necessitate the vision transforming entirely into reality.
- Can't get enough Russ Smith? This article by Adam Himmelsbach of the Courier-Journal is a fantastic read on how Russdiculous ended up in New Orleans. An excerpt:
The Pelicans scouts tracked Smith closely during his senior season at U of L. They saw the evolution from Russ-diculous to Russ-diligent. Demps said the fact that he was coached by Rick Pitino for four years made him an even more intriguing prospect.
Ultimately, though, the franchise was sold on Smith the way so many others are sold on him. The team brought in Smith for an interview at the NBA draft combine in Chicago in May. There were seven Pelicans employees in the room — front office members and coaches and scouts. And then there was Russ.
He sat there and he shared his story. It was a story Louisville fans are familiar with, a story that made this city fall for him. He talked about how he had hardly been recruited out of high school in Brooklyn. He talked about how he had worked to prove himself, to prove his worth, his entire life. He talked about his maturation at U of L, arriving as a player who just wanted to fit in, leaving as a leader.
The Pelicans' executives were blown away.