Byron Scott Fired from New Orleans Hornets
by Trevor Whenham - 11/12/2009
No league has a coaching revolving door that spins faster than the NBA, and this year it only took nine games for the door to start spinning. Byron Scott has been fired as the head coach of the New Orleans Hornets after his team limped out of the gate with a 3-6 start. General manager Jeff Bower will wear a second hat and take over as head coach of the team. Tim Floyd, the disgraced former coach of USC who just keeps getting jobs, will be Bower's top assistant.
Scott's firing is proof of just how brutal coaching can be as a profession - he is just a year and a half removed from being named Coach of the Year in the league, but a weaker-than-expected season last year weakened his position, and the slow start was the end of his tenure.
Scott, like any coach, ultimately has no one to blame but himself for the problems his team had, but the schedule makers certainly didn't do him any favors. The Hornets played six of their first nine games on the road, and seven of those nine games were against teams at .500 or better. Six of the games were against teams likely to make the playoffs this year. It's doesn't help Scott's case that his team won just one of those games - an overtime win over Dallas. Wins against the Clippers and the Kings hardly count.
Bower has been with the Hornets since 1995, and has been GM since 2005 (he also held the position for the 2002-03 season), so he knows the team as well as anyone, and is largely responsible for the way it looks now. Success will be important for Bower, as his future with the organization likely depends on it. Scott struggled in part because of a real lack of depth on the team. That's Bower's fault, so it remains to be seen if it will also be his undoing. Bower has never been a head coach before. The closest he has come is stints as an assistant at Penn State and Marist before joining the Hornets.
Though there were a lot of reasons why the move to fire Scott was made now, the most obvious one is Chris Paul. The point guard has grown increasingly frustrated with the struggles of this team. The Hornets are entirely built around Paul - on the court and from a business perspective - so they are highly motivated to keep him happy. The team is already $3 million over the luxury tax threshold, so there is little flexibility to change the roster to make Paul happy. That meant that Scott was the obvious target. In retrospect it's surprising that they even let him start this season.
Bettors will be hoping that this move returns the Hornets back to their previous levels of ATS competence. After being a wildly profitable bet in 2007, the team was just 35-45-2 ATS last year - fifth worst in the league - and started out just 3-6 ATS this year.
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