Chicago Bulls: 5 intriguing head coaching candidates

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Scouting Report. Monty Williams. 4. Pick Analysis. Former Head Coach. New Orleans Pelicans. player. 69

Following the decision of former NBA all-star Jerry Stackhouse to assume the helm as head coach at Vanderbilt, Monty Williams may be the best former-player left on the coaching market.

His first season leading a team in 2010 was a huge success, as the Hornets (now Pelicans) went 46-36, a nine game improvement from the previous year and earning a trip to the NBA playoffs. Williams was even rewarded for his efforts by being named Western Conference Coach of the Month in January.

However, the following year signaled an end to the parade in the Big Easy, as franchise cornerstones Chris Paul and David West both abandoned the Hornets. Needless to say, a team that’s led in minutes by players like Greivis Vasquez and Jarrett Jack is not going to fair very well, regardless of who’s coaching. The Hornets suffered through an 82-148 record the following three years, and were even rebranded to the New Orleans Pelicans.

Although their failures brought rookie phenom Anthony Davis to New Orleans, the franchise’s inevitable struggles were placed on the shoulders of Williams. Despite the team’s decline, Williams helped carry the Pelicans surging back into the playoff picture in the last year of his contract, on the backs of a newly assembled young core in Davis, Jrue Holiday, and Tyreke Evans.

The reward for Williams’ success? A swift boot out the door. Williams was fired following the Pelican’s first-round playoff defeat. The Pelicans fell a whole 15 games the following year and would not even sniff the playoffs for the next two seasons.

Williams has since spent his time recuperating as assistant coach to the Philadelphia 76ers. His history of working with ball-dominant guards like Holiday and Ben Simmons, and assertive big men like Davis and Joel Embiid bodes well for a Chicago Bulls team looking to build around Zach LaVine and Lauri Markkanen.

Investing in Williams may also pay off down the line. With Holiday as an attractive target in the trade market and Davis set to hit free agency in 2020, an established connection with their former coach may be just enough to push the scales in the Bulls favor when making any decisions about their future.