In a not very surprising move, the New Orleans Hornets have fired sixth-year Head Coach Byron Scott.
The Hornets have looked liked tired old men in winning only three out of their first nine games. While the current Hornets roster is significantly improved from the roster that began the 2008-09 season, the play does not reflect it.
In a very terse statement, Hornets owner George Shinn, who just announced he is battling prostate cancer, said that the firing of Scott gives the team the best chance “to reach our goals this season.”
Shinn also announced that general manager Jeff Bower will take over as head coach. Bower immediately announced the addition of former Hornets Head Coach Tim Floyd as his chief assistant. The New Orleans Times-Picayune reports that Bower will neither have an interim prefix on his job title, nor are they beginning any sort of search for a new head coach.
As the Hornets have fallen from fame to shame since March of this year, so has the popularity of this one-time NBA coach of the year. The Internet has been buzzing with calls to remove Scott.
One fan had resorted to putting up a web site dedicated to Scott's termination, http://firebyronscott.com/ .
The use of the carefully crafted phrase “to reach our goals this season” is quite interesting. Just what are those goals?
Are those goals to bring the Hornets back to prominence as one of the up and coming teams in the league? Win the division? Make a deep run in the playoffs? Make a higher net profit?
If we assume for the moment that Shinn wants the Hornets to be a team in the top-tier in the league, then he is saying that the lion's share of the blame for the Hornets slide over the last nine months is coaching.
Mr. Shinn cannot believe it is the caliber of the players that surround All-Star Chris Paul, as he has handed the coaching reigns over to the man responsible for putting together the current roster.
Let's look for a moment at the qualifications of Bower to be an NBA head coach. He has been with the Hornets for the last 14 years. Bower has held positions as director of scouting, director of player personnel, as a scout, general manager, and assistant to former coaches Paul Silas and Tim Floyd.
Before joining the Hornets, Bower served as an associate coach at Marist College and an assistant coach at Penn State University.
It is glaringly obvious that Bower has not head coaching experience at any level on his resume. So what goal is Mr. Shinn trying to reach by firing Scott and turning the team over to Bower?
Is he possibly looking to position the Hornets to be contenders for a lottery pick?
If I were Hornets owner for a day, I would seek out a known winner such as New Orleans native and former Mavericks head coach Avery Johnson. If a coach such as Johnson were not available or could not fit within the budget, I would opt for an up-and-coming young coach that has experienced what it takes to bring a team to the mountaintop, such as Lakers assistant Brian Shaw.
But Jeff Bower? It just does not figure.