Demps, Williams react to lottery victory
By: Jim Eichenhofer, Hornets.com, @Jim_Eichenhofer
May 31, 2012
Even though the New Orleans Hornets entered Wednesdays lottery with the fourth-best mathematical odds among any team of winning, it was still only a 14.8 percent chance. For that reason, neither Hornets general manager Dell Demps nor head coach Monty Williams couldve reasonably expected to prevail in New York City. That helps explain why both men, now entering their third season together in the Crescent City, were so jubilant about landing the No. 1 pick in the June 28 draft.
Well have significantly more information and reaction in the coming days to the Hornets winning the draft lottery, but for now here are a few of the highlights from Demps and Williams media availability from the Big Apple on Wednesday:
Q: What was your reaction to getting the No. 1 pick?
Demps: Well, I was in the back room, so I was actually there when the balls were picked. I knew (before the TV participants did). The way the process works, the balls come out, and when the first three balls came out that were our numbers, I knew we needed the last number, which was a 7. When it first came up, it looked like a 1, so I was like Ah! Then when it turned and it was a 7, and they announced it, I was like Woa! I made a little fist pump in the room. But I knew about an hour ahead of everyone else (among those who participated on ESPNs TV broadcast).
Q: What does having the No. 1 pick mean for this franchise? Can this be the corner turner for the team?
Demps: Thats what were hoping. I think we have a good core right now. I think were looking forward to just building for the future, and being a team thats good for a long time.
Q: You also have the 10th pick. What about the depth of this draft?
Demps: Well bring some guys in to work out over the next couple weeks. Were hoping to add some pieces to help us become a good team for a long time. I think this is an exciting day for the city of New Orleans.
Q: What will be the process now? How does this make your job easier or perhaps more difficult now?
Demps: Well, I think we can go any way (in terms of the draft). With the way our roster is set up now, we can add players at any position. We dont think of it as a difficulty; we think of it as an opportunity.
Q: New ownership, number one pick, what message does this send to the fans?
Williams: Well, I think our fans have been really supportive of our team, under some weird circumstances. And as I said before, we were always in good hands with Commissioner Stern and I think as we move forward, they can commit to our team in a major way now. Were going to be in New Orleans, we have ownership, we have the number one pick. So many things to be thankful for. We are very blessed to do what we do, and so the message is simple. Lets all do this together. Its going to take a lot of work, but as I said this is a great step in the right direction.
Q: What message will you give your team?
Williams: Same as always. We defend and play hard. If you dont do that you dont play as much as youd like to. We cant skip steps, something I learned from Gregg Popovich along the way. We have to be humble enough to prepare and confident enough to perform. We have a ways to go. This is obviously a good step in the right direction.
Q: How does it feel to actually know where youre going to be in terms of being in New Orleans, knowing who your owners are and now you have the number one pick?
Williams: Well, regardless of my standing as a coach, I think its still important to look for help for the organization as a whole. And I think our organization is in a good spot. There was so much up in the air as far as who was going to own the team, whether we would stay in town, and now that all that stuff is out the way, we have the number one and 10th pick, now we just have to work. And thats what we stress from day one, we have a lot of work to do. Its a good feeling, but yet as a coach, Im already thinking about the steps I have to take to try to put this team into a position where we can be a top four team in the league. And Ive always felt once youre in that top four category, youre one or two plays away from being a champion.
Q: How much tape have you gotten to watch of some of the potential draftees?
Williams: Ive watched a few guys. I wont lie to you, Im not well versed in college players because Im always watching game film, but Ive watched a few guys because of our positioning. Ive said it before, but I dont see LeBron, I dont see a Tim (Duncan), but a lot of these guys are younger than Tim was when he came into the league. They have the potential to develop into those guys. Its one of those things where now we know where were going to be, so we can target the guys we want.
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