Filling up the Seats: Erman and Pack

Published: June 2, 2015

The New Orleans Pelicans are wasting no time in filling up the rest of their bench. According to Yahoo! Sports, the New Orleans Pelicans are closing in on signing defensive guru Darren Erman to be the associate head coach of the New Orleans Pelicans. The Pelicans are also working on a deal to secure Robert Pack as an assistant coach as well.

Erman fits the bill as the young defensive-minded assistant coach that the Pelicans needed to slate next to new head coach Alvin Gentry.  Erman was first hired as an NBA assistant coach in 2007 by the Boston Celtics, where he worked under Doc Rivers and alongside Tom Thibodeau in helping create a defense that led the Celtics to becoming the 2007-2008 NBA champions. In Erman’s time with Boston, he also coached alongside former NBA head coach Lawrence Frank as well.

After Boston, Erman joined Mark Jackson with Golden State for the 2012-2013 NBA season. Erman led the Warriors to a huge improvement, taking them from 26th to 11th in his first year, and from 11th to 3rd in the following year. Erman’s time is in Golden State is mired by the way he was fired, after he was secretly taping meetings with other coaches and players.

Erman wasn’t unemployed for long, as the Celtics immediately hired him as their Director of Scouting (and Doc Rivers tried to bring him over to the Los Angeles Clippers), then put him in charge of the Celtics defense this year. New Orleans can expect the defense to look a lot different with Erman at the helm. He famously argued with Mike Malone in Golden State when both were assistant coaches, about the kind of defense that should be employed, with Malone preferring to show on picks, and Erman preferring his big-men to sink. The Warriors successfully executed Erman’s defense (and have built on it to have the number one rated defense in the league this year) while the Pelicans ran a version of Malone’s show defense this year, resulting in the 22nd rated defense in the league.


Robert Pack was born in New Orleans, and went to school at Alfred Lawless High School. Pack is a former NBA player who went undrafted, but still managed to carve out a 13-year career as a point guard. Pack even spent a year playing for the New Orleans Hornets. He got his start as an assistant coach with New Orleans during the 2009-2010 NBA season, before moving on to the Los Angeles Clippers, where he was an assistant from 2010-2013. The last two years, Pack was an assistant coach for the Oklahoma City Thunder under head coach Scott Brooks.


  1. Bigbreed

    June 2, 2015 at 9:08 pm

    Assembling a really nice staff!

  2. 504beasties

    June 2, 2015 at 10:05 pm

    Excellent selections.  A young Thibbs for our D and a hard working Pack man from the Fisher Projects for our backcourt.  Both highly respected around the league.  This is going to be a fun team to watch!

  3. SamuelWhoDatWilcher

    June 2, 2015 at 10:21 pm

    We are making a nice step forward.  As a person who loves Monty Williams, I feel we have upgraded as a whole.  There will be Pace and smart defense to go along with Effort and Talent.

  4. Houpgarou

    June 3, 2015 at 7:17 am

    ExceExcellent choices! Kudos to dell on moving quickly to lock up an outstanding staff. Can’t wait to hear who next hire is, and could not be more fired up about season. We have plenty of guys on this roster capable of being great defenders, just need those technique improvements and game planning erman will bring.

  5. ryanschwan

    June 3, 2015 at 10:03 am

    Erman and Pack sounds like a comedy troupe.

  6. BillBloom

    June 4, 2015 at 12:39 pm

    I loved your article and the hiring of Gentry and Erman.  Who can argue with the success the Warriors have had ?

  7. Singular

    June 5, 2015 at 11:39 am

    I’m surprised that people aren’t more worried about Erman’s past.  Dude secretly recorded conversations between players and coaches without their knowledge.  That’s really bush league and was most likely illegal.  It’s hard to respect someone like that as a man.  Whatever your feelings are about your boss, as long as nothing egregious as going on, your boss is still owed some level of professional courtesy.  Erman is a great defensive coach, but these sort of trust issues could end up causing a huge schism in the team somewhere down the line.  On a personal level, I would never have anything to do with anyone for whom loyalty is that low of a priority.  Again, Erman is a great defensive coach, but he did what he did, and as a man, has to carry the weight of his actions.  That incident should be a huge red flag, and it’s being treated as an afterthought.
    Overview of state and federal laws regarding recording conversations without consent:

  8. DefensiveMind

    June 10, 2015 at 3:53 pm


    Great points, but what is also clear is that Mark Jackson was a paranoid coach who might have been taking liberties with the things that he was saying in an effort to make his assistants look bad. Mark Jackson had the power to affect someones livelihood and ability to earn a living if his narrative took full bloom. 
    A couple of things:
    1. Erman is a lawyer, by training. So he knew exactly what he was doing and why he felt he needed to do it.
    2. The immediacy of his rehire and the vetting that his situation has received from no less than 2 other teams formally and probably countless others informally. 

    All make me feel better about his hiring.

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  10. malltmont

    June 16, 2015 at 6:08 am

    How is it that gentry didn’t pick his assistants? In fact, I seem to remember dell being asked about the current assistants, and he said all decisions would be made by the new coach (press conference when they fired Monty). Hope gentry signed off.

  11. BillBloom

    June 16, 2015 at 11:04 am

    Great article.  From what I read, it looks like the Pelicans’ coaching staff is well-rounded.  I was not familiar with Erman, but he looks like he could be a great fit and I still remember Pack from his playing days.  I appreciate the piece and you keeping me up to date on the Pelicans.  Again, thanks.

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