John DeShazier of the New Orleans Times-Picayune reports:

Entering this season, the Hornets looked like a lottery team. More, the franchise looked as if it had taken the economical route when selecting its coach, a first-timer who never had served as a lead assistant in San Antonio or Portland.

Yes, he came highly recommended, but for all anyone knew, those were nothing more than courtesy platitudes.

So far, Williams has made the recommendations appear to be more than professional courtesies spouted by friends. So far, Williams has been about the best salesman — and he and his staff have been about the best teachers — in the league.

Simply, the Hornets have been transformed under Williams, from a team that periodically defended to one that prides itself on making stop after stop after stop. New Orleans is the stingiest team in the league, allowing 90.9 points per game, and the brakes are being applied by players who aren’t great individual defenders, but collectively have learned to lock down.