Did the Pelicans make the right choice in letting Monty Williams go now?
Oleh Kosel: Of course. The Pelicans had a multitude of reasons: there was a disconnect between the general manager and the head coach, the top brass remained unconvinced after five years of results, and my new favorite, Demps now has a chance to better evaluate the team he assembled in his vision for a full season before the salary cap makes a leap into the stratosphere. He'll better know which members of the core need to be moved (if any?) and how best to spread the remaining wealth in filling holes on the roster. I only wished that a good man, who was well liked by much of the roster and around the NBA, didn't have to be blindsided in the process.
David Fisher: Absolutely yes. Monty Williams had a ceiling and part of the reason I guess he was let go was because he did not want to make significant changes to his coaching staff. The Pelicans need to go bigger. It increases the chances of failure, but also the probability of ultimate success. Monty Williams was the perfect coach to rebuild this team but it would have been shortsighted to keep him around when a different coach, not a "builder" coach, is needed.
Quentin Haynes: I lean yes on this one. Now the next head coach will get some of the blame if this team takes a step back AND, and I find this one to be the most important, this team now has to take the next step. The next HC has to turn this team that just got in as the eighth seed into something like Portland, who took a tremendous leap two years ago.
Isaac Constans: A year from now, yes. As of now, no. Monty Williams was not a great in-game coach; his reliance on the pick-and-roll (that transformed into a pick-and-pop because it was so predictable) turned basketball's bread and butter stale. However, he was a good developmental coach and loved (again, his words) by Davis. These last two factors alone should have meant that Williams was allowed to coach out his contract, giving the Pelicans a full year to conduct his coaching search. In the meantime, the Pelicans would still have a very good developmental coach helping Davis hone his game.
The Pelicans should not be in a rush to do anything besides convince Anthony Davis this is his team. They should not be in a "win now" mindset, nor should they be making seismic shifts that could shake the sturdy foundation this team has built. This move did that. Williams made the playoffs, which was all that you could really have asked of him. Yes, the Thunder had injuries but so did the Pelicans. Under a better in-game coach, maybe the Pelicans would have snatched the seven seed, maybe. Maybe they would have even upset the Rockets. Definitely they would have gotten stopped by the Clippers if so. A championship was never on the cards this year. All the Pelicans need to worry about is assuring their ace's contentment--- something that Williams seemed to do well.
However, if Davis heard this, looked outside the window, and said, "Man, I love this place," then life is good. But, even a lukewarm reaction from Davis means that this is the wrong decision.
Chris Cucchiara: As I said, if the organization did not see Monty as the coach of the future, then this was the best time to fire Monty. There is no sense in getting into a situation like OKC had with Scott Brooks where the players were really attached to a coach that most knew was not "the guy." Many have pointed to the effect this would have on AD and I say that the effect on AD is negligible. AD will sign the $140 million dollar contract with the Pels whether Monty or Les Miles is the coach. Players are not the best judge of talent and coaching, especially young players like AD. I mean, Chris Paul lost his mind over the fact that the Hornets fired Byron Scott without consulting him first. Byron Scott! Who is one of the worst coaches in the league. Maybe the Pels were saving AD from himself.
Jamile Dunn: I've been a Monty defender but I'm glad he was the one to go and not Dell Demps. I've been on record several times saying that Dell Demps is a top ten GM. His peers agree, according to the recent executive of the year voting. Monty Williams was a great choice to get this team through the turbulent waters of the past five years. His even keeled approach kept everything calm throughout ownership troubles and relocation rumors. As for the timing, I think it was as good as any. It allowed the good vibrations of the 2015 season settle in while still giving Dell plenty of time to conduct a robust coaching search.