Meet the New Orleans Pelicans Coaches for 2020-21
The New Orleans Pelicans were supposed to be dead in the water. Or feeling sorry for themselves. Or something short of “okay.”
That’s the expectation when you trade away a generational talent like Anthony Davis.
Instead, the Pels parlayed that dark day into top pick Zion Williamson, a solid core, and some assets. A year later, they moved on from Alvin Gentry and shipped Jrue Holiday out of town, but the trajectory for this team remains extremely positive.
Could all of these moves have the Pels turning right back around and competing for a playoff spot? Let’s take a closer look at the New Orleans Pelicans 2020-21 coaching staff to find out.
Stan Van Gundy – Head Coach
The Pelicans had a solid coach already in Alvin Gentry, but it’s quite arguable they upgraded when they tossed him to the side and hired Stan Van Gundy.
SVG has made a name for himself with strong principles and an emphasis on smart defense. His teams are notorious for being disciplined defensively, mostly due to protecting the rim and avoiding bad fouls.
Defense tends to win championships, and SVG arguably benefited greatly from having a prime Dwight Howard at his disposal when he was with the Orlando Magic for five seasons – one of which ended in a trip to the NBA Finals.
Van Gundy has been competitive and successful at every stop. His Pistons teams struggled in his most recent NBA town, but he’s taken every NBA franchise he’s coached to the playoffs.
New Orleans has one major flaw; a terrible defense. In theory, adding SVG to the mix will tighten things up and give a high-flying offense a real shot at taking things to the next level.
The best part? He’s open to marrying defense with a fast-pace offense.
Stan Van Gundy’s teams have never finished top 10 in pace. But this season, he sounds open to playing uptempo.— Christian Clark (@cclark3000) December 9, 2020
“There doesn’t have to be a relationship between pace and turnovers,” he said. https://t.co/ZGtNfj8prH
New Orleans Pelicans’ Assistant Coaches
It’s out with the old and in with the new in 2020-21, as the Pelicans aim to take a very talented roster to new heights.
Stan Van Gundy is one heck of a start, but he doesn’t have to do the heavy-lifting alone from the bench. The Pelicans announced their new coaching staff, with five names joining SVG’s staff.
Get to know the New Orleans Pelicans coaching staff as 2020-21 approaches.
Vinson was so good that San Van Gundy kept him on. This will be his 11th year with the Pels, as Vinson displays his commitment and loyalty, but also showcases his wealth of knowledge and experience.
He’s familiar with the current players, and specializes in player mentorship and development. He is crucial to bridging the gap between the players and their new coach, while helping a young roster improve in general.
Beyer is as experienced as they come with over 35 years of work in basketball. A familiar advisor of SVG, Beyer has been part of his staff for nine different seasons.
Beyer has also spent time with other NBA franchises, with his most recent stops being in Sacramento and Oklahoma City. His time with SVG includes loads of playoff experience, including the 2009 trip to the NBA Finals.
Hill offers a bright mind as a former assistant to Doc Rivers. Hill spent the last two seasons with the Los Angeles Clippers, where he played a hand in a gritty group over-achieving two years ago, and then dealt with two divas in PG-13 and Kawhi Leonard last season.
Hill can navigate any situation, and he also brings some head coaching experience to the table. He saw over the Santa Cruz Warriors in the G-League, helping the team win the title back in 2015.
Weatherspoon is another holdover from Alvin Gentry’s staff, as she’s back for her second season with New Orleans. Her impact is felt from the developmental aspect, as she’s another voice to assist the young talent on this team.
Weatherspoon is an expert in player development at this point, having served the same role with the New York Liberty in the WNBA. She also has run the show all by herself, when she was head coach at Texas Tech for six years.
Lastly, Walters joins the Pelicans as another familiar face for Van Gundy. He spent time under SVG in Detroit, and moved on to chip in as an assistant with Wake Forest.
He also has had some head coaching experience in the G-League, as well as at the University of San Francisco.
The New Orleans Pelicans were in respectable hands with Gentry running the show, but they clearly got an upgrade by bringing in Stan Van Gundy.
Gundy’s defensive concepts and experience could take a talented team from fringe playoff contender to potential title threat within the next few seasons.
His impact comes at a crucial time, as the franchise just re-signed Brandon Ingram, and will also want to maximize the growth of superstar big man, Zion Williamson.
If anyone can get the Pels to execute on offense and defense, it’s SVG. Luckily, he isn’t alone, as he has two fantastic pieces from Gentry’s staff, as well as two familiar faces he knows he can trust.
Altogether, the Pels look ready to push the pace, defend, and win a bit more than anyone really expects them to in 2020-21.