The New Orleans Pelicans need to get the most out of Lonzo Ball.
The New Orleans Pelicans are still looking for a coach, and there has been no timetable for a decision.
They are doing their due diligence and may be after a guy who is still coaching on one of the playoffs teams in the bubble.
One of the top priorities in the new coach has to be player development, as the Pels have a young team with immense talent that needs to be refined.
This is especially true of Lonzo Ball, who has all of the skills to be a top point guard but hasn’t gotten there yet. Lonzo needs a coach who can get the most out of his immense talent, and that guy is Kenny Atkinson.
New Orleans Pelicans: Atkinson has a history of developing point guards
Atkinson is known as the “point guard whisperer” for work he has done with point guards in the past.
He is credited with helping Aaron Brooks in Houston, Jeremy Lin on the Knicks, Jeff Teague on the Hawks and most recently Spencer Dinwiddie on the Brooklyn Nets.
None of these players were bluechip prospects and Atkinson helped get the most out of their talents. Let’s face it, none of these guys have as much talent as Lonzo Ball, so if Atkinson can turn Dinwiddie into an All-Star, imagine what he could do with Lonzo.
What I like about Atkinson is that he lets players play to their strengths instead of trying to force them into roles that don’t suit their skill set.
Atkinson is also a workhorse who demands accountability, execution and effort, which you saw on a nightly basis in Brooklyn. Say what you want about Brooklyn’s win/loss record, but they always played hard, executed and got the most out of their talent.
None of these things were true of the New Orleans Pelicans, who showed poor execution and effort in the bubble before Alvin Gentry was fired.
Dinwiddie, Caris LeVert, Jarrett Allen and Joe Harris all improved under Atkinson. The young Pelicans are even more talented, so Atkinson would have plenty to work with.
The Pelicans, especially Lonzo Ball, lacked these traits down the stretch and need a coach who can take them to the next level.
If the Pels want to get the most out of Lonzo and their young talent, then Atkinson could be the guy.