The New Orleans Pelicans have hired Stan Van Gundy as their new head coach, according to ESPN’s Andrew Lopez and Adrian Wojnarowski. This will be Van Gundy’s fourth coaching stop in the NBA.
New Orleans Pelicans Hire Stan Van Gundy as New Head Coach
Teams that were coached by Van Gundy excelled defensively and this is an area where the Pelicans need to improve on. The Pelicans ranked 17th in defensive efficiency and 27th in points allowed to opponents last season. In Van Gundy’s 11 seasons as the head coach, his teams finished top 10 in defensive rating in eight of those seasons. On top of that, the Pelicans were sold on his ability as a teacher with this young roster.
Van Gundy has an extensive coaching background boasting a 523-384 record during the regular season. Furthermore, he has coached 91 playoff games and won 48 of them. Van Gundy’s best accomplishment in his coaching career is that he led the 2009 Orlando Magic team into the Finals. That Magic team lost to the Los Angeles Lakers in five games. This will be the first time he will the head coach since 2018 where he coached the Detroit Pistons. Van Gundy served as a commentator for TNT for the last couple of years.
Pelicans were sold on SVG’s abilities as a teacher with a young roster, his history of building top defensive teams and his vision for the roster in place. His personnel decisions in Detroit was a non-factor in search; he’s coming to coach. https://t.co/XhWcUCIxKo
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) October 21, 2020
The Future of the New Orleans Pelicans
The Pelicans have a strong young core led by Brandon Ingram and Zion Williamson. While they weren’t the most efficient team on offense, they were fifth in the NBA in points per game last season. They are very volatile on offense. The Pelicans were playing some excellent basketball after Williamson returned from injury. However, it wasn’t the same story during the restart.
If the team can stay healthy next year, they are destined to have an excellent season with coach Van Gundy emphasizing defense. While the Pelicans don’t have many great individual defensive players, they should thrive in Van Gundy’s system.
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