Monty Williams will not tolerate slackers.
The New Orleans Hornets have had a tough season after losing Chris Paul to the Clippers. This is what happens when you have a star player who wants out. While the Hornets have been the punchline in a lot of, "Welp, that's some bad basketball being played," wisecracks that have been tossed around this season, anyone who has actually watched the team knows they've been anything but a joke.
Despite losing Paul, the Hornets have been competitive. They've fought hard. They haven't laid down in hopes of winning the draft lottery. Even without Eric Gordon, their biggest return from shipping Paul to Los Angeles, there hasn't been anything embarrassing about this New Orleans team.
Their coach won't allow or accept anything less. When Williams was asked about the status of Carl Landry who missed the previous two games with a sprained right ankle, he made it clear that he isn't in the business of giving up on anything or throwing in the towel on the season even if things haven't gone their way.
“If you have guys who think these games don’t mean anything, those are not the guys we want going forward,’’ Williams said. “I’ve addressed it. It’s nothing new to our team. Trust me, we’ve seen it, and we’ve seen it here.
“This is the time of the year where you find out who is playing for the right reasons and who isn’t playing for the right reasons. I’m not going to single guys out, but I know what I’m looking at. I’ve been in the league long enough.’’
Ouch. While Williams didn't mention any names, it's pretty obvious that he is strongly opposed to guys choosing to sit with an injury at this juncture of the season, even if they would be gritting it out if the team was in the playoff hunt.
This is such a tough situation. While it's easy to say that an athlete should lace up his shoes and play through the pain if possible, after grinding through the season that New Orleans has had and knowing that the team isn't going to make the playoffs, it's hard to fault a guy if he wants to get completely healthy and rested before rushing back.
These quotes are another example of why it's so easy to respect Williams and the way he runs his team. But let's be real: at 13-40 on the year, whether Landry (or anyone else) suits up and plays through injury or elects to suit it up on the sideline, everyone on the Hornets' roster will be happy when they get to finish this season and look toward the future.