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Off-season roundtable: Pelicans keeping Monty Williams as a lame duck?

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Did a surprise playoff bid earn Monty Williams a new contract? Not so fast.

Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

Head coach Monty Williams is under contract next season. Would you let him coach as a "lame duck" coach? Request changes to the staff?

Oleh Kosel: I'm not a fan of how so many have confused the definition of a lame duck coach. In theory, a coach should only be considered of this variety if he has very little to no chance in returning the following season. Unless the Pelicans suffer through a terrible 2015-16 season, Monty Williams will not fall in this class. That said, we all know how intensely focused the media spotlight will be on this issue and it could serve as a distraction to the team. It might be best if Benson goes ahead and extends Monty by several years this off-season.

David Fisher: Monty should coach next season but some changes to the coaching staff need to be considered. I doubt Mike Malone is going back down to an assistant after his relative success in Sacramento but a coach with a similar defensive background is needed. There are issues with the talent defensively on the perimeter. However, the Pelicans should be much better and a new voice might do wonders.

Quentin Haynes: I wouldn’t make him a "lame duck," but I wouldn’t extend him either. I think the Pelicans should stay as clean as possible for 2016 with their GM and head coaching situation. The Pelicans have a chance to not just be good, but if Portland loses Aldridge, Dallas strikes out in FA and whatever else can happen in the conference, the Pelicans could take a step forward in terms of playoff seeding. That’s where I’m at: 2016 is AD’s extension kicking in and the cap increase. Offering that as a caveat for a head coach could get you a better coach. I’m playing it out with both Demps and Monty heading into next year.

Kevin Barrios: I'm far from ready to commit to Monty for the long run. I'd demand changes to the staff and see if he can learn how to manage the flow of a game and improve our team defense over the first half of the season before discussing a new contract.

Isaac Constans: There was an ultimatum posed to Monty Williams at the start of the year: find your way into the playoffs or find a new job. However, after making the playoffs, Williams' job security is still uncertain, and this befuddles me. The man did his job, and the Pelicans played quite well in the playoffs considering the skill of the opposition and the Pels' lack of experience. And if you still believe that Game 2 was entirely Monty's fault, then I suggest you rewatch the game; nobody was inculpable in that loss. However, most importantly, Anthony Davis LOVES Monty. The Pelicans must do everything in their organizational power to keep the Brow healthy, happy, and hungry for success. Monty Williams has been one of Davis' mentors since Davis entered the league, and Davis expressed his love for Williams as recently as April 15, when the Pelicans beat the San Antonio Spurs to qualify as the eight seed in the west. Personally, I think Monty Williams is a perfectly average NBA coach and we could do better. But I know that Anthony Davis has 'Best Power Forward of All Time' potential, and that's some juju I wouldn't test. Monty might need to go eventually, if the team peaks, but let's raise the expectations, see how he handles them, and get Davis under contract before making any major realignments.

Chris Cucchiara: Next year is obviously a big year concerning the future of Monty Williams. I do think that if the team stays healthy next season, the Pels could win 55 games and earn a decent seed in the playoffs. Signing Williams to an extension at that point would be more expensive than if they do so now while his seat is "warm". Couple that with not having the "lame duck" term thrown around all season and I think this should be a pretty easy decision to extend Monty for another year.

Nico Baguio: I would extend him by pickup up his option BUT request changes in the staff to better the defense. *COUGH* MALONE *COUGH*

You look around the league and you find these new coaches who surround themselves with talented assistant coaches (and there are a LOT of them) and succeed. Heck, even Popovich, for all the praise he gets as coach, has Messina, four time Euroleague champion, on his team. I don't know if there's anyone available right now but with how big the ocean is, I'm pretty sure he can add at LEAST one talented assistant coach (young or old) that can help this team defensively.

Jamile Dunn: I would want a few staff changes/additions. The Pelicans defense needs to improve in a big way if they are going to join the West's elite. I'm not saying Monty and his staff can't accomplish this but the team has never had a great defense (pace adjusted) under Williams. If Monty is open to bringing in defensive help then I give him a two year extension. I like what I've seen out of Monty from a leadership standpoint as well as offensively. Many fans would disagree but I think Monty might, given time and high IQ players, develop into a offensive wizard. He's shown glimpses of offensive genius, out of timeouts for instance, but is rarely given credit because many people have made up their minds that he's nothing more than a collection of bad suits (very bad suits). If he's not open to that then let him coach on a lame duck basis. He's got enough respect in the locker-room to pull it off.