A Look at Alvin Gentry’s Possible Staff If Hired

Published: May 30, 2015

A few days ago we took a look at what Jeff Van Gundy’s staff may look like if he gets hired. With Alvin Gentry emerging as another leading candidate for the job, it is only fitting that we look at some of his connections around the league. Gentry is an NBA lifer with 26 years experience as a coach in the NBA. He has been an assistant in San Antonio, Los Angeles (Clippers), Miami and Golden State, while also having the head position in Miami, Detroit, Los Angeles, and Phoenix. In all those stops he has developed dozens of relationships with other brilliant basketball minds, and beyond that, he is one of the most respected coaches in the league.

Gentry is known for his ability to take offenses to the next level, as evidenced by recent stints with the Clippers and in Golden State, but the defenses he has coached have consistently finished in the bottom half of the league. While you can rightfully argue that he hasn’t had great defensive talent, an elite coach can make chicken salad out of chicken you know what. Or, maybe you don’t need an elite coach. Maybe a great coach with an elite supporting staff can do just that. With that in mind, let’s take a look at some coaches that Gentry could reach out to for help if he lands the job.

Brian Shaw, ex-Nuggets Head Coach

If Gentry gets the job, his first call should be to Shaw, who he coached as a player way back in his Miami Heat tenure. Shaw’s experience as a head coach was terrible in Denver, but he got the job because he was considered one of the best defensive assistants in the league in Indiana, as he essentially shared that job with Vogel in the first few years when Vogel was learning the ropes. Shaw didn’t mesh well with Denver’s group of young vets because he wanted to slow the pace far too much, but with Gentry at the controls, that won’t be an issue. Shaw can solely focus on the defense, and the two of them can form quite the power duo.

Marc Iavaroni, ex-Grizzlies Head Coach

Remember him? The guy who coached the Memphis Grizzlies for all of one and a half seasons back in 2007 and 2008, and led them to a 35-86 record after they dumped Pau Gasol. Well, Iavaroni is a respected coach who worked with Gentry in Phoenix for 4 seasons and is widely considered one of the best developers of big men in the world. I think the Pelicans have a big men that can benefit from his services.

Armando Hill, Los Angeles Clippers

Hill has been with Doc Rivers since 2004, but he worked with Gentry two seasons ago in Los Angeles and he might be lured away by an associate head coaching title – something he can’t receive with Mike Woodson and Lawrence Frank on the bench in LA. Hill is a respected defensive coach who was a former player (9th overall pick, spent 8 years in the league) and learned a lot of his defensive principles under Thibodeau during his time in Boston.

Dan Majerle, Grand Canyon

“Thunder Dan” also worked with Gentry in Phoenix, and is now a Head Coach at Grand Canyon, where he transitioned that program into the WAC and has made them respectable over their first two years. Majerle is remembered for his outside shooting, but he was also a tenacious defender who was a leader in the locker room. Marjele would be great to help coach up the guards and wings on this team.

Phil Weber, Sioux Falls Skyforce

Weber is another guy who worked with Gentry for several years in Phoenix and has since coached in New York and then spent the last few years with the Heat organization. He is known, mostly, as a terrific shooting coach who also works with guys on balance and fundamentals. He is one of the most positive and upbeat coaches in the league, and would bring a tremendous amount of energy to the staff.

Chauncey Billups, ESPN

Billups is destined to become a coach one day, and with the recent successes of Jason Kidd and Steve Kerr, why not add a team oriented, former NBA point guard to your staff. Bills was arguably the most respected player in the league over his last 5 years and will instantly have credibility the second he walks into the locker room. Gentry never coached Billups, but he is 2 degrees of separation from Billups in about 50 different ways, and could likely entice him to join his staff.

Michael Curry, Florida Atlantic

Curry is a former player under Gentry who has some NBA coaching experience with the Pistons. He took over Detroit just as they started to decline after their run as a contender and kept their defense respectable. He is a hard nosed coach who wants his teams to be physical on both ends, and he can help instill that with this Pelicans team.

Other Former Players

Kenny “The Jet” Smith has recently talked about getting into coaching, and he loves Anthony Davis. Mark West is currently working in Phoenix as an assistant coach, and does anybody doubt that Grant Hill could be a terrific coach? Lindsey Hunter has also had some coaching gigs and could help fill out the staff, and don’t discount Fred Vinson staying on with the Pelicans, as he has some roundabout connections to Gentry as well. Heck, speaking of former All-NBA point guards, why not give Steve Nash his first gig?

Like the Van Gundy list, this one could go on for days as Gentry has worked with dozens of people in this league and has probably developed relationships with hundreds more. And those people have relationships with other people, and so on and so forth. He will be putting together a staff to help coach the next great player in the NBA, so I don’t think it will be too hard for him to get people to come to New Orleans and help build the next Western Conference contender.




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