After serving as Steve Kerr’s lead assistant on the Golden State Warriors’ coaching staff during the playoffs, Alvin Gentry was finally introduced as the New Orleans Pelicans newest head coach on Monday afternoon.
Gentry agreed to a deal to become the Pelicans head coach at the end of May, but the Warriors being in the midst of what was ultimately a championship clinching postseason run prevented him from assuming any duties with New Orleans.
Gentry is now ready to rock-and-roll with the Pelicans, and he seems ecstatic about being afforded the opportunity to coach not only New Orleans, but their superstar Anthony Davis as well. John Reid of the New Orleans Times-Picayune got an interesting quote from Gentry regarding Davis.
With emerging star power forward Anthony Davis in the fold, Gentry said the Pelicans roster has tremendous potential and he is eager to get started.
”We got the best player in the NBA, not named LeBron James,” Gentry said. ”But I’m really excited. I look at the roster and I lot of these guys I have a special relationship with.
Gentry has already spoke to Davis several times in the past week and plans to meet with him again when he returns to California, where Davis has spent time this season working out in Los Angeles.
Davis was tight with former Pelicans head coach Monty Williams, but he should be excited about the potential for both his team and himself under Gentry’s tutelage. Gentry has already made it known that he intends to play at an uptempo pace, one he believes can greatly benefit Davis and the Pelicans. During his interview with New Orleans, Gentry showcased detailed graphics that illustrated how Davis was misused in preivous years.
Gentry seems to believe he can get more out of Davis than anyone ever has, and he’s in fact so confident that he boldly predicted right after the Warriors won the championship that he and the Pelicans would be the one’s going to the NBA Finals in 2016.
As for Davis being the second best player in the Association, a case can certainly be made. In his 3rd NBA season, Davis averaged 24.4 points, 10.2 rebounds, 2.9 blocks and 2.2 assists per game while helping New Orleans reach the playoffs for the first time since 2011.
Davis was a legitimate MVP candidate all season long, and despite being swept out of the first round by the eventual champs, he validated the consideration for Most Valuable Player by averaging 31.5 points, 11 rebounds, 3 blocks and 2 assists per game in the first round of the playoffs.
Davis put himself in elite company by putting up those numbers, joining Bob McAdoo, Kareem Abdul-Jabaar and Wilt Chamberlain as the only players to average 30 points and 10 rebounds in their first four career playoff games.
With the remarkable season he had, Stephen Curry definitely rivals Davis as the league’s second best player, and James Harden did his fair share this season to have a horse in the “best player behind LeBron” race. You also have to consider a healthy KD as the probable second best in the NBA, but he still has to work his way back from injury.