Dell Demps’ first head coaching hire as the New Orleans Pelicans’ general manager seems to be a hit with those around the NBA.
The Pelicans confirmed late Saturday night that Demps, who has been GM since 2010, has chosen Alvin Gentry as the team’s next head coach.
“Gentry’s a home run hire,” Matt Moore of CBSSports tweeted after word of Gentry’s hire began spreading across social media.
Gentry is currently the associate head coach at Golden State but will take over the Pelicans once the Warriors finish playing the Cleveland Cavaliers in the NBA Finals that start on Thursday.
He replaces Monty Williams, who was fired in early May after five seasons.
Los Angeles Clippers guard Jamal Crawford, who played under Gentry in the 2013-14 season when Gentry was an assistant in L.A., weighed in on the hiring as well.
“Great pick up for the Pelicans bringing Alvin Gentry back home,” Crawford tweeted. “Great coach, great communicator, great person, fun system.”
Gentry’s system of an uptempo offense is thought to be a perfect fit for a Pelicans team with a fairly young roster of players who could thrive in getting up and down the floor.
Gentry was the mastermind behind the Golden State offense that led the league in scoring this season after being 10th last year.
He was an assistant with the Clippers last season, and they led the league in scoring as well.
They also led the league in scoring his first season as head coach in Phoenix.
“In Phoenix, his last stop as a head coach, you had Amare Soudamire and Steve Nash and a team that made it all the way to the Western Conference Finals and came very close to making the Finals playing an up the floor, uptempo style,” ESPN senior writer Marc Stein said in an ESPN interview. “With Davis and the athletes they have, they want to bring Alvin in and have them playing a completely different way.”
Bruce Arthur of the Toronto Star thinks the Gentry-Davis combo will be a perfect mesh.
“Alvin Gentry in New Orleans + modified Suns/Warriors offensive system + Anthony Davis = yes please,” he tweeted.
Tyler Ruby, who writes sidelinebizz.com, sees Gentry’s hire as just what the Pelicans needed for superstar forward Anthony Davis. Davis averaged 24.4 points per game this past season when he was voted a starter in the NBA All-Star Game and was a first-team All-NBA selection at season’s end.
“If you think Davis flourished this year, just wait until you see what the 22-year-old will do next year in Gentry’s wide-open system,” Ruby wrote.
Doug Gottlieb of CBS Sports tweeted that Gentry “is pretty much as well respected a guy as there is in the business.”