The New Orleans Pelicans are looking for their third head coach in as many years, and this time, David Griffin had better get it right.
The Pelicans have a unique opportunity to build around a generational superstar in Zion Williamson, but the clock is already ticking and Zion wants to win.
I think the “big market” angles taken by media (mostly in New York) are overblown, as Zion already signed the biggest shoe deal ever and is one of the league’s most popular players despite playing in one of the smallest markets.
If the Pelicans put together a winning team, they won’t have to worry about losing Zion Williamson like they did Anthony Davis, which is why David Griffin is under pressure to get it right.
Blaming Stan Van Gundy became a sport for Pels’ fans last season, but the truth is that he didn’t have much of a chance given the poorly constructed roster he had to work with, and now that he is no longer there to kick around, Griffin will become target number one in New Orleans if things aren’t turned around quickly, and that starts with finding the right head coach.
Pelicans head coach: David Griffin has to get this one right
David Griffin will be given some benefit of the doubt when it comes to Stan Van Gundy, as it was a wonky offseason that was shortened by COVID and hiring an experienced guy seemed like a good idea given the unique challenges.
But there were plenty of people second-guessing this decision at the time, as the Pelicans still had a very young roster and SVG was never known as a guy who has done well with youth, though every young Pelicans’ player did get better under his brief tenure.
It never translated to wins and the Pelicans were a disappointment, as most thought they would at least get into the play-in tournament if not make the NBA Playoffs outright.
After SVG’s departure, Griffin won’t have any excuses about short offseasons or COVID, and if it doesn’t work out this time, it will be him that is getting dismissed.
Patience is in short supply when you are a small market team with a superstar, so Griffin had better get this right, or he’ll be looking for a new job next offseason himself.