NBA Roundtable

Hornets Fire Byron Scott

In Coaches Corner on November 12, 2009 at 3:09 pm

ESPN reports

The New Orleans Hornets have responded to their 3-6 start by making the first coaching change of the young NBA season, firing Byron Scott on Thursday.

The Hornets made the decision to dismiss Scott following New Orleans’ 124-104 loss in Phoenix on Wednesday night and formally announced the move later Thursday.

Scott will be replaced by general manager Jeff Bower, with Tim Floyd as his top assistant, the team said. Floyd formerly coached the Hornets and the Chicago Bulls in the NBA and most recently at USC.

Team owner George Shinn thanked Scott for his service, but said Bower “knows this team better than anyone” and gives the Hornets “our best opportunity to reach our goals this season.”

ESPN’s report continues

Hornets vice president of basketball Chad Shinn said accountability was the team’s watchword over the summer — and that the Hornets were not measuring up with Scott at the helm.

“We talked about the fact that everyone on our staff is held to a certain standard of performance and we didn’t feel this was happening at the head coach level,” Chad Shinn said. “We feel like we still have an opportunity with our nucleus to get to where we want and Jeff is the right guy, right now to move us in that direction from the bench.”

The quotes from the Hornets front office throughout the summer — akin to the one above — always spelled trouble for the coaching staff.

The GM

Jeff Bower is the one who deserved to be fired. Byron Scott is paying for Bower’s mistakes.

Good Decision

Anyway, it was a good decision to fire Byron Scott. Things had gone too far. Scott had lost team and wasn’t able to get it back.

As for Byron Scott, he will be offered numerous head coaching jobs over the next 18 months. He won’t be out of work for long … unless he chooses to take a break which I doubt he’ll be interested in.

Scott should wait for a good coaching opening though. If he suffers another bad finish at his next club it would be massively damaging to the rest of his career.

Jeff Bower = Head Coach

I believe Bower was a head coach at lower levels before taking over as GM for the Hornets. I don’t know much about him as a coach so it’s impossible for me to comment on him as a replacement coach.

The positive part of this is that George Shinn is right — Bower intimate knowledge of the team and hand selection of the player personnel means that Bower knows the squad’s strengths and weaknesses as well as anyone.

New Orleans Hornets

Most teams that are under-performing when a coach is fired get a jolt of life when a coaching change is made. This spark should get the Hornets back on track.

They’re a much better team than they’ve shown so far this season. They should be able to win at least 45 games this year and really should aiming for 50+ wins.

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  1. Sorry, I’m just trying to act surprised at this news….

    No, can’t do it.

    WHile I do agree he’d lost the team and needed to go, it’s not as if he had much to work with. This was not the contender that reached the Western Conference Finals a few years ago. This is a team that started Morris Peterson six of their 9 games, and then sent him to the inactive list because he was so useless. The two players who have started the most at SG and SF average a COMBINED 10.5 ppg.

    How much do you think Chris Paul regrets signing that extension, now?

  2. Interesting twitter post by Chris Pauledit: Not Chris Paul’s account, it’s his brother’s twitter account.

    I can’t stand when ppl that don’t know Basketball, make major basketball decisions. It turns out to be a disaster.

    The twitter post before it was

    Today has not been a good day. The Team let go of Coach Scott which I think was a very good coach.He’s the only NBA coach my bro has known.

    Is Chris Paul unhappy with the coaching decision?

    Anyway, I’ll be posting some thoughts on the Hornets shortly (next 24 hours, hopefully!). I meant to do it a few days ago but never got around to writing anything beyond bullet points.

    Updates

    Some articles in Nola.com.

    (1) First up, Chris Paul is unhappy that he wasn’t consulted about the move — link

    Paul wasn’t happy with the decision, and he certainly wasn’t pleased with being caught off guard by the announcement. He said the Hornets should have sought his and West’s input before the decision was finalized.

    “I felt like, maybe somebody would have at least consulted with me and asked how I felt before it happened,” Paul said by telephone Thursday night. “It’s not to get my approval, but we feel we should know about the decision before it takes place.”

    So Paul is unhappy with the coaching move.

    (2) Some information on Tim Floyd + West is happy with firing of Coach Scott. He felt the offense had become predictable — link

    (3) West more vocal on his unhappiness — link

    West said that the team’s philosophy wasn’t working, and Scott’s pride might have been a factor.

    “We’ve had some conversations over the past couple of weeks, just trying to figure out what we could do to get the ship righted, but … pride is a crazy thing,” he said. “I think pride is a dangerous, dangerous thing. I think there was a sense a few guys weren’t trusting what we had in terms of our system and our ability to know what we were going to get every single night from our system.

    West said the players should be receptive to Bower and Floyd because “what we had wasn’t working.”


    Update
    a damning article from Ken Berger at CBS Sports.

  3. “I can’t stand when ppl that don’t know Basketball, make major basketball decisions. It turns out to be a disaster.”

    Wow. Was that really him that said it, or is this going to turn out to be like when someone (can’t remember who) said something similarly candid and then it was `revealed’ it was the player that said it. That is a very damning statement, though.

  4. Like the Raps last year, the GM waited too long to do the obvious and risks losing a season because of it.

    It is a huge mistake to fail to act when you don’t believe someone is going to succeed.

  5. Tim W,

    That twitter account is Chris Paul’s brother’s account. I wasn’t paying close enough attention the first time. Sorry about that.

    Links

    NBA.com — first link and second link

    Bower said it was more than simply the poor start to this season that prompted the quick trigger on Scott’s job.

    “Nine games into the season is one thing,” Bower said. “Numerous practices that we watched and the effectiveness of our team growing from them are all areas of the team that we feel need to be different.

    “Given that plus our preseason play, we’re looking to something to point to to say that it’s changing. The only thing you can do is look at the tapes of the games and search to see what progress is being made. We weren’t comfortable with the amount of progress we were seeing.”

    Interesting quote from Weber on Bower

    “Accountability is key,” team president Hugh Weber said. “I told Jeff ‘the genie is out the bottle.’ Nobody can say we didn’t have the right players. Jeff has handpicked this team. We like the idea that Jeff will be held accountable for this team.”

    And from a ProBasketballnews.com article

    “I told Jeff the genie is out of the bottle. Nobody can say he didn’t have the right players or the right reason. Jeff has hand-selected this team and we like the idea that now, Jeff will be held accountable for the results,” Weber said in candid, strongly-worded comments to reporters in New Orleans on Thursday.

    “Some of what is being defined was a big problem and yet there was no specific direction on how to fix it. We believe that there are actually very fixable, very tactical, very specific goals that we have that were not being achieved.”

    It’s clear Hugh Weber isn’t planning on taking any blame for the Hornets struggles …

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