Hiring Tyronn Lue and pairing him with assistant coach Chris Finch might be the New Orleans Pelicans’ winning ingredient
Finally, there’s some meat on the bone that is the New Orleans Pelicans head coaching search. After being stagnant for most of the offseason, the team conducted its first interview yesterday with leading candidate Tyronn Lue.
This comes as no surprise considering we’ve covered whispers of the Pelicans pursuing Lue since Alvin Gentry’s firing. This leads me to explore a concept that I think gives the Pelicans an edge. That concept is how adding Tyronn Lue to associate head coach Chris Finch creates a dynamic coaching staff good enough to put the Pelicans in contention now.
Why do I believe this? It all stems from a simple evaluation of both men and their coaching philosophies.
It all starts with Lue. At the start of this coaching search, I wrote about the pros and cons of hiring Lue as the franchise’s next head coach. What I found is that Lue brings exactly what the Pelicans need in terms of an intense coach who will hold his players accountable and has championship experience.
According to NBA Insider Brian Windhorst, this is exactly why the Pelicans are pursuing Lue, to begin with. Windhorst believes that David Griffin and the organization likes the idea of Lue because of his championship background and the potential relationships he’d form with the team’s young stars.
Unfortunately only part of being a head coach in the NBA is social, the rest of the job is schematic. Throughout his career, Tyronn Lue isn’t known for being an Xs and Os guy. Sure he can dial-up a good defense at times but he’s no offensive tactician.
Do you know who’s considered a strong offensive mind? That’s right Chris Finch! What Finch gives the Pelicans is excellent offensive schemes and that’s why despite their poor record the team had a prolific offense last season.
From his time in analytical based organizations like Denver and coaching around the world, Finch gives the Pelicans the perfect coach to instill modern offensive techniques. Thinking back to the Pelicans offense this past season, some of the team’s staple concepts like off-ball movement and emphasis on corner 3s were Finch’s installations.
So why not give Finch the job? That’s a good question, Finch is a great offensive mind but I get the feeling the organization doesn’t want to fall into another Alvin Gentry. What I’m saying more specifically is that Finch is more of a teacher and mentor not a disciplinarian like Lue.
That’s exactly why the marriage of the two can great a dynamic coaching staff built for contention. Lue and Finch complement each other’s weaknesses perfectly. Lue brings all the intangible social qualities to the team while Finch brings the scheme. It makes perfect sense!
With how glowingly David Griffin spoke about Finch and his basketball acumen, he’s against adding a coach who’ll bring a new system to the team and we all know that Griffin trusted Lue as a leader in the past.
I might be getting too optimistic but creating a brain trust of Lue and Finch could end up being one of the best moves of David Griffin’s career. If this coaching duo comes to fruition then I think the New Orleans Pelicans are playoff-bound in 2021.