The New Orleans Pelicans’ offseason is paused until they find a head coach and two names have emerged as possible candidates in Charles Lee and Willie Green.
Green’s name only recently came out, as the Suns making the Finals has shined some light on their assistant coach.
Both are young and up and coming assistants who have many of the qualities the Pelicans should look for in their next head coach.
Both are young, have reputations as being smart basketball minds and good communicators and have worked under successful head coaches.
Other candidates, including a couple of internal options, are still in the running, but if the Pelicans go with Charles Lee or Willie Green, it will give some understanding of how they want to take the franchise forward.
New Orleans Pelicans: Willie Green is a familiar face
Willie Green played one season as the backup point guard to Chris Paul in New Orleans, so the Pelicans are very familiar with his work.
He is an assistant under former Pelicans’ head coach Monty Williams who was fired by the Pels but now has his team in the NBA Finals.
The familiarity is nice, but if the Pelicans didn’t think Williams was the guy to lead them (they were probably wrong on that one) then what makes them think that his assistant Green will be any better?
In some ways, this would be an admission that they were wrong to fire Williams, though David Griffin was not there at the time, so may not care about those optics. Like Williams, Green would be one of the youngest coaches in the league at age 39, a year older than Williams was when he got the head job in New Orleans.
New Orleans Pelicans: Charles Lee offers a fresh start
Unlike Green, Lee has no connections to New Orleans, as his coaching career has gone through the San Antonio Spurs, Atlanta Hawks and Milwaukee Bucks.
Lee emerged as the top candidate after it was reported that frontrunner Jacque Vaughn had taken himself out of the running for the job.
Lee would represent a fresh start for the Pelicans, who won’t then have to re-visit the ghosts of coaches past and answer endless questions about Monty Williams.
He would give the New Orleans Pelicans a chance at some long-term stability and could grow with his young team.
I think it is a tough call, as there are arguments for both, but the choice will tell us a lot about how the Pelicans view the future as well as the past.