The Hornets’ abrupt firing of Byron Scott apparently did not sit well with the one person the team can least afford to alienate: Chris Paul. According to the New Orleans Times-Picayune:
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.”
Paul has a point. He IS the franchise (and in the middle of an off-the-charts, historically good start to the season). Even if he doesn’t have Kobe or Lebron-style veto power over moves, he should at least be in the loop, if just to avoid tiffs like this. But if Chris Paul thinks David West would have sided with him against firing Scott, Paul may want to guess again. Again from the Times-Picayune (via Ball Don’t Lie):
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.”
“I think the good thing is that we’re 3-6, so getting back to .500 or in the right direction isn’t something out of the realm of possibility.”
West certainly seems to echo much of what Kevin Pelton over at Basketball Prospectus had to say about kicking Scott to the curb: the Hornets needed a shake-up, and making this move early in the year at least gives New Orleans a chance to get their season back on track (i.e., make a run at the seventh or eighth spot). The bigger issue for West may be his familiarity with former Hornets coach Tim Floyd, who was brought back as an assistant. West had this to say about Floyd:
[West said] the players are in for a “dramatic change, a dramatic difference” now that General Manager Jeff Bower, along with new lead assistant coach Tim Floyd, have taken over for fired Byron Scott.
“We’re not going to be as predictable as we have been in the past. I know that, having played for Tim before,” said West, a sixth-year veteran. “That’s something I’m looking forward to, in terms of style of play.”
Paul, meanwhile, has not played for anyone but Scott on the pro level. While it’s understandable that Paul would be anxious about losing that comfort zone, West’s comments indicate how much Scott had lost at least some of the Hornets. Maybe a new (old) voice can get them to play to their potential.