It’s been a huge summer for the New Orleans Pelicans, even before the traditional fireworks begin with the NBA Draft and free agency. The trade of Anthony Davis netted a significant haul for the organization and, in just a few days, Zion Williamson will likely become the face of the franchise. With all of the optimism, though, comes the reality that someone has to coach the Pelicans for the 2019-20 campaign and, on Monday evening, word broke that incumbent head coach Alvin Gentry received a significant show of support.
Gentry’s contract was scheduled to expire with the 2019-20 season and, while it isn’t unprecedented for a coach to operate under a deal that is set to end, the practice of avoiding “lame duck” status is one that certainly applied here. In addition, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski notes that Pelicans personnel head David Griffin believes Gentry’s “style of play fits the personnel he’s assembling” in New Orleans, with Williamson, Jrue Holiday, Lonzo Ball and Brandon Ingram at the center of it all.
The 64-year-old Gentry may not appear to be a fit with a young team on the surface, but he deploys an uptempo approach that should fit nicely with the team’s overhauled roster. Beyond that, he was able to guide the team to 48 victories in 2017-18 and Gentry has extensive experience at the highest levels, providing confidence that he can guide the ship as things progress in New Orleans.
The Pelicans likely won’t coalesce into a championship contender immediately but, with young pieces and a bright future, this move signals that the steady hand of Gentry will be at the helm for a while.