Pelicans Choose Pace and Experience With Gentry Hire

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Published: May 30, 2015

The Pelicans were at a crossroads after firing Monty Williams. On one side, they had a handful of defensive minded head coaches with experience clambering for the job, and on the other side they had some innovative offensive minds, most lacking NBA head coaching experience. Dell Demps went into the process with an open mind, and spoke to more candidates than were officially reported by national media. At the end of the day, though, the Pelicans wanted to play a different brand of basketball, and they wanted a coach with experience to help them take the next step.

“We wanted to play with more tempo and pace,” a high-ranking Pelican official said Saturday evening. “Pelicans fans won’t be subject to a stagnant offense anymore. Expect a lot of movement.” Gentry’s experience also played a huge part in the hire, according to the source. “We weren’t going to replace Monty with somebody who didn’t have experience leading NBA players. That just wouldn’t make sense. We wanted to find a guy who would help us take that next step.” And the Pelicans believe that Gentry can be that guy, especially on the offensive end. He was the head coach of a Phoenix team that had one of the top 10 offenses of all time, and recently coordinated the Clippers and Warriors attacks – two teams who just happened to be at the top of the league this year running Gentry’s principles.

But it wasn’t all about offense for Dell and the front office staff. “Alvin is known for his offense, but he has been a part of two very good defenses these last two years as well.” Gentry has been an NBA coach for 26 years, and he understands defensive principles, as well as how to implement them. Now, the next step for the Pelicans and Gentry will be to round out his assistant staff, which is a process that is already underway. “We feel like if we put the right defensive assistant on staff, this hire is a home run,” said the team official.

Earlier this morning, I took a look at some coaches that Gentry could target as his next assistant, but admittedly, there were 10-15 names I had to leave out just for the purpose of the article. The simple truth is that there are a ton of fantastic defensive assistants out there and Gentry will have his pick of the litter. He is well-known and respected around NBA circles, and will be able to put a staff together that enhances his strengths and complements his weaknesses.

The next step after that will be assembling the roster, though it is very possible that the Pelicans can run a lot of the same guys back and just use them in different ways. When specifically asked about Asik, the Pelicans official stated, “We think we can use him in a lot of the same ways Golden State uses Bogut.” And while that might seem a little crazy at first, Asik did play much better offensively his first season in Houston where he had more space to operate. As for Anthony Davis and his role in the process, the team official declined to comment, saying that would be addressed at a future time.

The Pelicans did their due diligence and had an exhaustive search, but at the end of the day, the opportunity to put Anthony Davis in a high-octane offense with an experienced and well-respected head coach was too good to pass up. The next step will be to put together a high-end staff that will fill in the gaps and get a few complementary pieces on the roster to take this team to that next level. Gone are the days of walking the ball up the court and isolation basketball at the top of the circle. Gentry will usher in a new brand of thrilling Pelicans basketball centered around a once in a generation talent.

It’s okay to get excited Pelicans fans!

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