Dave Telep

Southwest Notes: Pelicans, Mavericks, Doncic, Spurs

Although the Pelicans didn’t make any major offseason changes to a team that posted a 36-46 record in 2021/22, their expectations for the coming season are higher than ever. Zion Williamson is set to return from a foot injury that has sidelined him since last summer, CJ McCollum will be spending his first full season in New Orleans, and the team’s young contributors like Herbert Jones, Jose Alvarado, and Trey Murphy all have a year of NBA experience under their belts.

During a speech this week at the Greater New Orleans Quarterback Club, Pelicans head of basketball operations David Griffin said he’s excited to see how the team will respond to its increased expectations, as Christian Clark of NOLA.com relays.

“What’s going to be really exciting for us is we have an incredible amount of talent,” Griffin said. “We have more talent than I’ve had almost anywhere I’ve been, including teams that won a championship. But this talent has never had to win a game when they were supposed to win a game. That’s really the next step in our evolution.

“… Last year, we won games at the end of the season when nobody thought we were any good,” Griffin added. “It’s a whole lot easier to be the hunter than the hunted. We were good last year. We get an opportunity now to prove that we’re actually a good team. That’s a super-exciting time in the growth and evolution of a franchise. We never get these moments back.”

Here’s more from around the Southwest:

  • Speaking to ESPN’s Malika Andrews during an NBA Today appearance (video link), Luka Doncic said he doesn’t think the Mavericks need another All-Star player to be a legit title contender. “No, I think we have great players on our team,” he said. “There’s plenty of very underrated guys that I think should be talked about more. So I don’t think (we need another All-Star). I think we have a great team.”
  • The Spurs issued a press release today announcing several changes to their front office and coaching staff. Notably, the team has promoted Dave Telep to vice president of basketball operations, named former NBA center Greg Stiemsma a player development assistant, and hired longtime WNBA star Candice Dupree as a player development coach.
  • Another noteworthy former player is moving into an important role at the G League level for the Spurs. Ex-NBA guard Brent Barry has been named the general manager of the Austin Spurs, San Antonio’s NBAGL affiliate, the club announced today.

Spurs Name Landry Fields GM Of NBAGL Affiliate

The Spurs have announced a series of changes to their coaching staff and basketball operations staff, issuing a press release to confirm the moves. Most notably, former NBA swingman Landry Fields, who joined the franchise as a scout in 2016, has been promoted to general manager of the Austin Spurs, San Antonio’s G League affiliate.

Fields, a member of the NBA’s 2010/11 All-Rookie squad, is still just 31 years old, having played his last game in the NBA as a 26-year-old in 2014/15. The former Knick and Raptor has spent the last three years as a college scout for San Antonio and will now have the opportunity to take on a greater role within the organization. He’ll be joined by Tyler Self, Austin’s new assistant GM.

Dave Telep (director of player personnel), Phil Cullen (director of basketball operations and innovation), and Adam Glessner (senior director of basketball intelligence) are among the Spurs’ other basketball operations executives who have earned new titles.

On the coaching side, Mitch Johnson has been promoted to an assistant coach role, while former NBA big man Darius Songaila has been named a player development assistant. They’ll join Gregg Popovich‘s new-look staff, which no longer features veteran assistants Ime Udoka and Ettore Messina.