I’ve got just two words for the New Orleans Pelicans Coach Monty Williams: “Dude, chill”… Last Friday night in the road game against the Utah Jazz on the road would have been a good time for him to start. Have you guys noticed the difference in the pictures between NFL coaches and pro basketball coaches?
Basket ball coaches always seem to be screaming at someone, yet many NFL coaches manage to go most of the game without losing composure. Where is it written that NBA coaches have to be so emotional? You would think that basketball coaches would have learned a lesson about maintaining their composure from Indiana Hoosiers coach Bobby Knight.
Coach Williams may have cost the Pelicans a much needed win on the road against Utah Friday. Times-Picayune’s John Reid described a situation early in the third quarter that resulted in one of the Pelicans players get benched for the duration of the game, but was it necessary?
NBA.com described Williams tirade and the resulting benching of the Pelicans’ leading scorer point guard Eric Gordon as a “bad move”:
“Hornets coach Monty Williams and point guard Eric Gordon got into a screaming match during a timeout with 8:37 left in the third quarter. Millsap had just scored on a putback to put Utah ahead 55-47 and New Orleans called a timeout. Williams was visibly agitated, yelling in Gordon’s direction. He had to be held back by assistant coach Randy Ayers after Gordon hollered back at him, and when the team went to the sidelines, Williams continued screaming at Gordon. Gordon, the team’s leading scorer, did not return to the game after the confrontation. The incident was indicative of an overall disjointed effort by New Orleans. The Hornets played hard, but didn’t play well together.”
As far as the term “screaming match” goes it sounds like coach Williams not only started it, but did most of it as well. Another consideration is that by benching Gordon the rest of the game Williams didn’t just punish Gordon; he punished the team and the Pelicans fans as well. It’s also possible that the “disjointed effort” may have been aided by benching the Pelicans’ best shooter. Coach, there are other ways to get your point across, and players respond better to a coach when you don’t abuse them in public.
Edit by author: It was pointed out by a couple of guys at Nola.com that Gordan had been a problem in the past, and had made a bad play before being benched. There was talk of Williams “doing the right thing”. I agree that a coach has to maintain the respect of the players but the manner Williams used wasn’t conducive to gaining respect.
When a screaming coach has to be physically restrained from going after a player on the bench he has an anger management issue in any sport. Yes, discipline must be maintained but a lot of it can take place outside of a game you’re trying to win. Coach Les Miles pulled that stunt in LSU’s last BCS championship game.
The word was that players went to him before the game and begged him to start Jarrett Lee instead of Jordan Jefferson. Miles was said to have become angry at the players questioning his authority, and it may have caused his decision to keep Jarret Lee on the bench during the most embarrassing loss in school history.
Bleacher Reports called Les Mile’s decision to keep Jordan Jefferson in the game, instead of putting in senior quarterback Jarrett Lee, the worst coaching move in BCS history. Luckily for the Pelican their Friday night game wasn’t that important. Benching your best player has consequences.
Picture Credit: Pic courtesy of nba.com
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