Monty Williams is an incredibly well-respected coach — Mike Krzyzewski asked him to be part of the Team USA staff — who did a solid job as coach of the Pelicans. He did get them to the playoffs despite Jrue Holiday and Ryan Anderson missing large parts of the season.
From the second New Orleans let him go, you could be sure his phone would be ringing from teams looking to offer him a job, most likely as a lead assistant.
Donovan has a targeted interest in several potential candidates, including ex-New Orleans Pelicans coach Monty Williams, Chicago Bulls assistant Andy Greer and Portland Trail Blazers assistant Nate Tibbetts, league sources said.
Another possibility could be the return of New York Knicks assistant Brian Keefe, league sources told Yahoo Sports. Keefe left ex-Thunder coach Scott Brooks’ Thunder staff to join Derek Fisher in New York a year ago. Keefe is well-regarded among Thunder management and players. Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook are among the players partial to Keefe.
Former Cavaliers and Lakers coach Mike Brown turned down a chance to interview for the staff, according to the report. Also, Donovan is keeping current Thunder assistants Mark Bryant and Darko Rajakovic on staff, and added former Alabama coach Anthony Grant as an assistant.
Donovan still needs a veteran NBA guy at his right hand, just to help him through the adjustments to the NBA game. It’s why David Blatt got Tyronn Lue to be next to him in Cleveland this year, while Steve Kerr pried Alvin Gentry away from the Clippers.
Williams would be a perfect fit, plus he has a relationship with Durant and Westbrook through Team USA. It’s a matter of fit and if the Thunder are willing to pay — Williams will not come cheaply.
Dr. J won’t return to represent Sixers at Draft Lottery
Julius Erving won’t be representing the 76ers at the May 19 NBA Draft Lottery because he’ll be in China, according to Sixers CEO Scott O’Neil.
O’Neil said in a Monday text message that the team’s management was “still discussing internally” who it would be. Erving was onstage at the nationally televised event a year ago when the Sixers landed the Nos. 3 and 10 picks. …
Among the candidates to replace Erving are former Sixers star Allen Iverson (O’Neil didn’t respond to a question about Iverson being a possibility) and young big men Nerlens Noel and Joel Embiid.
Erving admitted to not knowing what was going on when the Sixers were revealed to have the 10th pick in the draft, because the team was slated to pick second if the odds remained intact.
What Erving missed was that the Sixers had two first-round picks, thanks to the Jrue Holiday trade the summer before, and 10th was exactly where that second one was supposed to land.
“When I saw 10, I was perplexed,” Erving said. “What the heck? We’ve got the second-most ping pong balls and we’re 10? I almost felt bad, but then (Orlando Magic representative) Pat Williams gave me the light, and when they started announcing what had happened and that we had the tenth pick, then it was OK.”
Let’s hope that whoever gets the nod this year for the Sixers is well-informed of the possibilities.
Up three, why didn’t New Orleans intentionally foul?
“We were supposed to foul,” Pelicans coach Monty Williams said. “In situations like that, we’ve had that happened to us a couple times, and they shouldn’t have even had that shot take place. We just didn’t execute, and that’s on all of us. But we were supposed to foul.”
Said Anthony Davis: “I don’t know. I thought he made it very clear: We’re supposed to foul. Things happen in the game.”
Quincy Pondexter, who was guarding Curry, has taken the brunt of blame for not fouling. But I’m not sure he ever had a clear opportunity.
When Curry caught the inbound, it appeared he might immediately catch and shoot. The last thing you want to do is foul him while he’s shooting a 3-pointer.
Curry took one dribble, which would have presented a golden opportunity to foul. But Pondexter’s momentum was carrying him the opposite direction, and I’m not sure he could have immediately reached to foul while preventing a shot. By the time Pondexter shifted direction, Curry was actually shooting.
That first attempt missed – which presented the real opportunity to foul.
Marreese Speights grabbed the offensive rebound and took a dribble inside the arc – with his back turned to the basket! Tyreke Evans definitely and Davis probably had an opportunity to foul Speights, who, not for nothing, made 84 percent of his free throws to Curry’s 91 percent this season.
Many factors tilt specific situations – Curry’s 3-point ability chief among them here. His superb free-throw shooting also matters, though. So, a chance to foul Speights – especially after Williams instructed to foul – should have been executed. It wasn’t, and Curry lost Pondexter in the scramble (another problem for another day) and made the game-tying 3-pointer. Ironically, the Pelicans fouled Curry on that attempt, though it wasn’t called.
Troublingly, this was far from New Orleans’ only issue with when to foul in this game.
The Warriors had the ball and the lead in overtime with the game clock and shot clock practically in sync. To any well-trained team, this is an auto-foul situation. But the Pelicans let about 10 precious seconds run off before actually fouling, even as Williams appeared to call for a foul:
Later in the extra period, Davis missed a potential game-tying shot and Golden State got the rebound. Again, this is auto-foul territory. Instead, Davis made a halfhearted effort and then gave up on the play, and Jrue Holiday retreated a half step before going for a foul. That allowed the Warriors to call timeout:
In the clearest must-foul situation of all – and the others were pretty clear – Tyreke Evans squared up to guard Curry for a couple beats before fouling after the ensuing inbound:
Curry made both free throws to ice the game, but had he missed one, every fraction of a second would have helped the Pelicans’ final possession.
This seems to be a systematic problem with several players not understanding when to foul, which points to a coaching issue. Maybe Williams is doing everything he can, but the players aren’t listening. Maybe the coach isn’t drilling these situations often enough. It’s an impossible diagnosis to make from afar.
But if Williams isn’t going anywhere, the Pelicans must handle these instances better. Davis will get them into a lot of big games, and like last night, some of them will be close. New Orleans can’t keep putting itself at a disadvantage down the stretch like this.