Monty Williams: 'I Can't Say Enough About How Good Of A Guy (Robin Lopez) Is'
The Oregonian's Joe Freeman caught up with former Trail Blazers assistant and current Pelicans head coach Monty Williams to talk about center Robin Lopez
, who played for Williams prior to being traded to Portland earlier this month.
“I can’t say enough about how good of a guy he is,” said Williams, a longtime former Blazers assistant. “He’s just a solid person. A solid locker room guy. A solid guy on the (team) bus. And he’s really passionate about playing — more so than I thought.”
The Trail Blazers acquired Lopez earlier this month in a three-team trade with the Sacramento Kings and Pelicans that allowed New Orleans to land free agent guard Tyreke Evans in a sign-and-trade with the Kings. If New Orleans didn’t need to deal Lopez to facilitate the Evans signing, there would not have been cause for Williams to detail Lopez’s fit with the Blazers — the Pelicans wouldn’t have dealt him.
“We valued him really high,” Williams said. “We wouldn’t have given him up if we didn’t have to do something as big as Tyreke.”
“When we lost him, we lost a lot of intelligence — our intellect quotient went down a ton because a he’s really bright person,” Williams said. “He just understands how to play defense. He understands the game and his role. I’m going to miss him.”
Having worked with Williams (or "Coach Mont" as he was usually referred to in Portland), I can say that I've never known him to be the kind of person who says kind things just to keep up appearances. He probably wouldn't put a former player on blast in public, but he'd certainly decline to say anything if he didn't have something nice to say. A straight-shooter and a truth-teller, even when the subject matter is incredibly personal
, so to heard him gush about Lopez carries a lot of sway, in my opinion.