Reasons To Be Excited About Training Camp: No. 6 Monty Williams
No. 6: Monty Williams
In the tumultuous world of coaching, particularly within today’s NBA, job changes can happen even when you least expect it. George Karl, who earned the 2012-13 Coach of the Year award while leading Denver to its best-ever record, was fired in May. In Memphis, Lionel Hollins won’t return to the Grizzlies after he also guided his franchise to heights it had never previously reached. Five other teams – Atlanta, Boston, Brooklyn, the Los Angeles Clippers and Milwaukee – changed head coaches, despite the fact that they all qualified for the 2013 playoffs.
Then there’s New Orleans, which has been a rare model of coaching stability in recent years. Believe it or not, Monty Williams, who was officially hired on June 7, 2010, is now the NBA’s fifth-longest tenured head coach. The only sideline leaders who’ve been with their current teams longer are San Antonio’s Gregg Popovich (1996), Miami’s Erik Spoelstra (2008), Dallas’ Rick Carlisle (2008) and Oklahoma City’s Scott Brooks (2008). Not so coincidentally, the first three men have combined to win seven NBA championships, while Brooks led the Thunder to the 2012 NBA Finals (where they were bested by Spoelstra’s Heat).
Although it completely goes against the grain of what’s taken place in the coaching ranks lately, the New Orleans Pelicans signed Williams to a four-year contract extension in August 2012, showing their confidence in one of the league’s rising coaching talents. Williams, who will turn 42 on Oct. 8, was chosen as a USA Basketball assistant coach this summer and began working for Mike Krzyzewski’s staff in July. The selection spoke volumes about what the basketball world thinks of Williams’ ability and future.
“Monty’s terrific,” Krzyzewski said during USA Basketball’s four-day minicamp in Las Vegas. “He has a lot of knowledge. He’s a great teacher and he commands the respect of all of these (players).”