The New Orleans Pelicans Should Avoid Mike D’Antoni In Their Head Coach Search
The New Orleans Pelicans have officially ended their 2019-20 season. After a season that was a rollercoaster ride, to say the least, the Pelicans are setting up for a huge offseason. One of the biggest items on the team’s offseason agenda will be finding a new head coach.
With the team dismissing head coach Alvin Gentry after five seasons, the New Orleans Pelicans have to find the coach who is going to patrol the sidelines for the team’s next era. Here at Pelicans Debrief, we are beginning to dig through a lot of the team’s coaching candidates hoping to provide insight into some coaches who would fit well with the organization.
One name that has been coming up in speculation recently though is a successful coach who the New Orleans Pelicans should avoid, Mike D’Antoni.
D’Antoni who currently coaches the Houston Rockets is in the final year of his contract and will be looking to continue coaching somewhere else next season. Hopefully, it won’t be in New Orleans.
Why The New Orleans Pelicans Must Avoid D’Antoni
In the team’s recent end of season press conference, one thing that team vice president David Griffin spoke about at length is patience in the head coaching search. He told the New Orleans media that searching for the next head coach for the franchise is not going to be rushed.
Hiring Mike D’Antoni would indicate the exact opposite of that sentiment and should worry many New Orleans Pelicans fans. That’s not saying that Mike D’Antoni is a bad coach, it’s saying that he isn’t the right coach for this team.
Yes, D’Antoni has been one of the better head coaches in the league throughout the past two decades thanks to innovations in uptempo offense but he comes with a ceiling and clear red flags. The flaws that D’Antoni carries as a coach are going to carry to New Orleans if he gets offered the head coaching position.
Many Pelicans fans aren’t seeing D’Antoni’s stains right now because they are thinking about how good D’Antoni could make the Pelicans offense with Lonzo Ball running point and forwards Brandon Ingram and Zion Williamson getting out in transition. That’s understandable, D’Antoni makes the team’s offense look alluring but is he any better than Alvin Gentry?
Throughout every coaching stop, D’Antoni has made, meager defense and playoff heartbreak follow him. Mike D’Antoni has only ever had mediocre to poor defenses in the NBA and after 16 seasons in the league, that’s not going to change.
With the New Orleans Pelicans already having one of the most putrid defenses in the NBA, they need a coach who can come in and fix those problems rather than avoid them.
Add in the fact that Mike D’Antoni holds a subpar 49-49 record in the postseason where even his best teams always seem to collapse, and the New Orleans Pelicans have clear signs that D’Antoni is not the coach for them.
The Pelicans organization has spoken at length about how badly they want to transition to being championship contenders, and hiring Mike D’Antoni would be the organization settling. Regardless of the history, the team’s front office has with D’Antoni if they hire him it would be a mistake.
D’Antoni wouldn’t be an upgrade over Alvin Gentry, and that would leave the team stuck in the status quo. If the team wants to become contenders then they need to be approaching this coaching process the right way.
That means doing exactly what David Griffin said, staying the course, and finding the best coach for the current New Orleans Pelicans roster. Hiring Mike D’Antoni would be going back on that plan, and it’s a quick way for the organization to get stuck in mediocrity.