New Orleans fired head coach Monty Williams (above, left) Tuesday, just weeks after owner Tom Benson lauded Williams and his charges for a earning a playoff berth in the 2014-15 campaign. Noting that Williams was saddled with “a roster that at times seemed patched together like an old quilt,”, the New Orleans Times-Picayune’s Jimmy Smith argues the team, “fired the wrong man”, with his sights aimed directly at GM Dell Demps (above, right).
There has been an obvious disconnect between Williams and Demps from almost the moment Demps arrived here in July 2010, about a month after Williams was hired as head coach.
Holes that should have been addressed more decisively were not, resulting in ongoing challenges that Williams and the players on hand faced resolutely and conquered. Demps’ philosophy of trading draft picks for young, more established talent is decidedly imperfect.
The team hasn’t had a first-round draft pick since 2012 when it won the lottery and snagged Anthony Davis.
Then, with a second first-round pick that year, the team chose Austin Rivers and tried to convert him to a point guard.
Giving up two first-round draft picks for Jrue Holiday, who has played a half season in each of his first two years in New Orleans because of injury, was a calamitous overreach.
And it’s quite possible the Pelicans could lose center Omer Asik, who cost a 2015 No. 1 pick, if he walks in free agency — leaving the Pelicans with just a second-round choice in the June draft.
There are about a half-dozen free agents on the current roster, and there are precious few chips with which to gamble sitting in front of the man holding the Pelicans’ roster improvement cards.