In 2010, the New Orleans Hornets handed Monty Williams his first head coaching role. That same season was Chris Paul’s last with NOLA, but according to former Hornets big man Jason Smith, it was enough for CP3 and Williams to create incredible chemistry.
The CP3 and Monty connection
As a first-time head coach, Williams was making the usual mistakes. He admitted he was a bit imposing, describing his mentality as “my way or the highway.” On the other hand, Paul, the team veteran, often barged in and injected his brains into Williams’ drawing board. Surprisingly, Smith said it worked out.
“I think early on in his career he was more of a no-nonsense kind of guy,” Smith told Fox Sports of Williams. “He wanted to run the plays he wanted to run. But at some point, Chris got him to buy-in like, ‘Hey, I got this, I can read defenses well. I know what plays to call.’ So it was kind of a back-and-forth exchange.”
“Chris knew what Coach [Monty] was going to call before Coach even called it,” he added. “It was amazing to see the interactions between the two going back and forth of, ‘All right, let’s run this.’ ‘No, I think we can run this.’ They were just so in sync.”
We’ve heard many stories entailing how Paul would bark at his teammates as the team’s leader. Smith acknowledged it, but unlike the others, he’s totally fine with it. In fact, that’s one of the things he loved about CP3.
“That’s what you want from your point guard,” Smith said of Paul’s strong character as a leader. “Some people can take it, some people can’t. For me, I absolutely loved it. It gave me a sense of direction, a purpose out there.”
Picking up where they left off
Under Williams and Paul’s tutelage, New Orleans finished the 2010/11 season with a decent 46-36 record. However, they fell short-handed against the then-defending champions Los Angeles Lakers in the first round. The following season, CP3 left the Hornets for the Clippers.
Ten years later, Paul and Williams reunited in Phoenix, and the pair continued where they left off. Only this time, they were better.
“If you haven’t changed in 10 years, then something is wrong,” Paul said of him and Williams working together once again with the Suns. “We’ve both seen a lot since then.”
As we all know, the Suns have been championship contenders since Paul and Williams took over. It will be interesting to see how far they can go as a tandem.