SIDELINE PATROL: Was Hornets’ firing of Scott justified?
With the recent success of the Saints and the lackluster performance of the Hornets at the end of last season, I have yet to write about New Orleans’ basketball team this year despite nearly 10 games into the season.
Well, as I am writing this, news is breaking that the Hornets have fired head coach Byron Scott. I guess that makes the bees newsworthy.
Let’s just say that I have the utmost respect for Scott.?He was the least flamboyant starter on the Laker teams that won three NBA championships in the latter 80’s and guided the Nets to consecutive NBA Finals appearances in only three 1/2 years at the helm.
He took over the Hornets in 2004 and turned around a team that only won 18 games in his first year into the Southwest Division Champion with a 56-26 record in 2008 losing to the Spurs in the Western Conference Semifinal.
The man knows his basketball.
All the while in that span, he helped keep the team together as the head coach after Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans and the Hornets were forced to play games in Oklahoma City. And probably most importantly he brought interest to a basketball team in New Orleans during the 2007-08 season when the city hosted the All-Star game. What more you ask for?
I admit after the Hornets lost so profoundly to the Nuggets last year in the first round, I kind of lost interest which carried over to this year. I hadn’t watched a game this year, but, heck, we are only half way through the NFL football season. Interest could grow if the team were to make a run like they did two years ago.
But it seems a 3-6 start to open the season was too much for Hornets’ officials to handle as they announced an unexpected news conference at 1:25 p.m. Thursday.
Yes, Byron Scott was fired by the Nets a year removed from the Finals midway through the season with a winning record of 22-20 possibly suggesting he may have had philosophical differences with players.
But then this saga gets all fishy. After a players’ meeting that indicated many were unaware of any pending announcements, Hornets’ vice president Hugh Weber announced Scott’s firing and the naming of general manager Jeff Bower as head coach.
Hold on, Bower has no head coaching experience and he is supposed to retain his position as general manager. How can he do two jobs at once when one he has no experience in?
Then, it gets worse. It seems the Hornets are expecting to rehire Tim Floyd as the lead assistant coach but Bower will not have the interim tag on his title and there will no search for his replacement.
Bower then tries to act like he understands basketball and says he wants the Hornets to have a better transition from offense to defense rather than Scott’s up-tempo approach.
"What I'm not going to do is turn away from things that have been successful,” Bower said.
Then?David West walks into the room and describes “philosophical differences” between Scott and some players on the team calling the Hornets “stagnant.”
"I think we got to the point to where things we were doing just weren't effective,” West said.
We next find out that Chris Paul will not be available for comment till Friday.
So here is the just of it. Paul is the face of the Hornets and West is jealous because he can’t keep up with his fast-pace transition type of basketball that wins championships because he has had too many surgeries, faked too many injuries or is just not in shape enough to run the floor with the best.
When all is said and done it will be Paul and Scott who we associate with during the only good years the Hornets ever had in New Orleans.