There’s a “belief around the NBA” that Suns assistant Willie Green is the frontrunner to become the Pelicans‘ next head coach, according to Christian Clark of NOLA.com. Green and Bucks assistant Charles Lee are considered to be the top two candidates, and with both involved in the NBA Finals, New Orleans may have to wait until that series wraps up before announcing a decision.
Green, 39, had a 12-year playing career and spent the 2010/11 season with New Orleans. His variety of NBA experiences, which include playing alongside Allen Iverson in Philadelphia and winning two titles as a coach with the Warriors, appeal to the Pelicans’ front office.
Stan Van Gundy came to New Orleans with a solid reputation, but wasn’t able to connect with the players during his eight months as head coach. Clark states that the priority with the next hire will be to find someone who can be encouraging but still command respect from the young roster, particularly Zion Williamson and Brandon Ingram.
There’s more on the Pelicans:
- Green’s combination of youth, success and playing experience might make him the best candidate for the job, per William Guillory of The Athletic. Green has a chance to win his third ring in the past five years, and he’s able to mix old-school coaching techniques with modern analytic theories, Guillory states.
- New Orleans is taking a risk by waiting so long to hire its next coach, writes Jacob Rude of Yahoo Sports. More than three weeks have passed since Van Gundy was dismissed, and for the second straight year a new head coach will have minimal impact on draft and free agency decisions. Rude also recounts the questionable roster decisions that have taken place since David Griffin was hired as president of basketball operations and notes that some positive news is needed soon to convince Williamson that the franchise can become a contender.
- Connecticut guard James Bouknight could be the answer to the Pelicans’ need for backcourt scoring if he’s still on the board at No. 10, Clark adds in a separate story. Bouknight averaged 18.7 points per game as a sophomore and is reportedly moving up draft boards. Clark observes that the 20-year-old is comfortable shooting from just about anywhere on the court and has the ability to finish through contact at the rim.