Monday’s announcement that Pelicans coach Monty Williams will be an assistant with the U.S. men’s national team is certainly a huge honor.
As he said after the announcement, any time you can represent your country, it’s a special moment. It’s something that happens for such a small percentage of people, Williams realizes, that it was quite reasonable for him to get emotional when talking about it.
But if you’re a Pelicans fan, you’re downright delighted.
This is the best news for the team since the draft lottery in 2012 ended with the then-Hornets picking up the No. 1 pick in that year’s college player selection.
That ultimately begot Anthony Davis, who is the base for what could be an ascent up the Western Conference ladder.
This could have the same impact.
Williams is close with Greg Popovich, the man who has the San Antonio Spurs within two games of their fifth NBA title. He’s close with Nate McMillan, the former Portland Trailblazers head coach. He’s tight with Doc Rivers, the long-time NBA player and head coach.
He polls them on a regular basis, getting their take on the NBA game.
While that’s all fine and good, there’s a point of diminishing returns in that scenario. At some point, you’ve heard and learned all you’re going to from your friends and regular sounding boards.
In this new world, Williams will get fresh ideas from successful coaches. It’s hard to argue with what Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski and Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim have done. Chicago Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau is one of the game’s premier defensive minds.
Like most – if not all – coaches, Williams has his shortcomings. His teams have been brutally inefficient and slow on offense with little creativity. They’ve been prone to giving up fourth-quarter leads.
We forget that Williams is still a young coach. He’s as mature a 41-year-old coach as there is out there. That just means, however, that he has much to learn.
And what better way to learn than to see the best of the best coach and play up close.
Williams will come home from these experiences with new drills, new sets of ideas, new plays to run.
Team talent certainly plays a part of any coach’s overall success but how that coach goes about teaching and running his team plays a large part of it, as well.
Williams may grow more in these next 3½ as any of the three prior years he has been a head coach.
He knows this, too, which is the best part of all.
“In talking to Coach K a couple of days ago, he was talking about what he wanted me to bring to the staff and things like that,” Williams said. “But my thought process was, ‘man, I’m going to glean a lot from being around this situation.’ ”
That should get Pelicans fans fired up.
Chad Johnson goes to jail as judge overreacts
I’m generally not one to chide the criminal justice system.
But both parties in the “Chad Johnson get 30 days in jail for patting his lawyer on the butt” brouhaha are at fault for having gone way overboard.
I’ll start with Johnson.
The man known for excessive celebrations went one celebration too far. It doesn’t take the smartest man to realize that when you’re in court for a case that’s related to battery you don’t pat anyone on the butt.
Court is serious business. It’s not the time to be fooling around. Johnson is foolish, but not foolish enough to get handed 30 days in jail, especially when the judge was just about to sign the plea deal.
And that brings me to Broward County Circuit Judge Kathleen McHugh.
If McHugh was that close to putting pen to paper on OK’ing the plea bargain, it’s a gross overreaction to suddenly throw a person in jail for 30 days.
With power must come restraint and McHugh showed little of it.
Johnson may have been wrong by doing what he did, but with overcrowding in jails across the country throwing him in the slammer just wastes space and money.
Tim Tebow goes to the Patriots; the internet grinds to a halt
This is hopefully the last time you’ll read an opinion on Tim Tebow on these pages.
The New England Patriots signed him a contract this week and the entire interwebs all but shut down.
What Tebow did at Florida was impressive. There’s no questioning that.
But he hasn’t proven himself to be anything more than an overanalyzed talking point in the NFL.
In many ways (and I’m parroting a bit of others I’ve read at this point), New England is the right place for him to land and for his career to end.
Bill Belichick is known as a coach who can find something for any player to do. If he fails to find a use for Tebow – and I suspect that will ultimately be the case – the player’s career will be done.
And we can all finally move on from the Great Tebow Experiment.
Seattle shows soccer can be a beloved sport here yet
Long have U.S. soccer fans watched European and South American soccer and wondered when stadiums in this country would carry similar atmospheres.
Tuesday night, at CenturyLink Field in Seattle, we finally got an answer.
For those questioning whether soccer can make it in the United States, Tuesday night proved that it can.
And heck, Seattle’s crowd performed a million times better than the supporters at Estadio Azteca, where fans of the Mexican national team threw objects on the pitch delaying the game.