Dell Demps, job well done. Monty Williams, you're up.
That's the overall impression I have after a very active Pelicans free agency.
Demps said he wanted to upgrade the roster this offseason.
He did exactly that. With Jrue Holiday, Tyreke Evans and Jeff Withey, the Pelicans today are a more talented team than they were a year ago.
In the process, Demps shifted the franchise's tone from building for the future to winning sooner rather than later.
Essentially, Demps has given Williams the pieces to win a lot more games this season. Now, Williams must deliver.
In my last AFR blog entry, I wrote that it would be wrong to assume Demps had an unlimited amount of time to build this roster. Well, the same is true for Williams.
Like Demps, Williams wasn't exactly dealt a fair hand. Ownership was shaky and the franchise's best player was itching to get out the door.
But also like Demps, that card can't be played forever. Both are going on year number four with the franchise, year number three post-Paul, and year number two with new, stable ownership.
To his credit, Williams has never used any of those external factors as excuses. In fact, the only season he had any real playoff-caliber talent he guided them to a respectable 6-game first round exit against second-seeded L. A.
Point being, when he had talent, his team won games.
The last two seasons, his roster was severely lacking in the talent and the health department. Thus, the expectations of winning simply weren't there.
Those expectations are officially back for 2013-2014.
He's no longer coaching role players and developing prospects. He's now got proven commodities in the primes of their respective careers.
It's Williams' job to bring it all together on the court. I think if you ask him, he would tell you the exact same thing.
No one is crazy enough to think this team is ready to compete for a title. But they have every right to expect them to at least be battling for a playoff spot.