If Willie Green is going to be the Pelicans’ next head coach, then one of the first things he’ll have to figure out is what to do with Lonzo Ball.
Obviously, this decision could be taken out of his hands if the Pelicans choose not to re-sign Ball, who is reportedly looking for a deal in the $20 million per season range.
If the Pelicans are able to work something out, they are essentially committing to a Big 3 of Zion Williamson, Brandon Ingram and Lonzo Ball, a trio that has gotten mixed results so far.
They’ve all had individual success at times but have yet to win much as a team, so whoever the next coach is will have to figure out their unique dynamic.
Stan Van Gundy changed Lonzo’s role quite a lot, moving him off the ball, where he became more of a 3-point shooting wing instead of the point guard many have envisioned him to be.
I think Willie Green will be a great choice as head coach for several reasons, but is he the right guy to figure out Lonzo Ball?
Pelicans: Willie Green should be able to get the most out of Lonzo Ball
I first want to say that no coach is going to be the reason Lonzo Ball improves. If he wants to get better, that’s on him. Lonzo’s fans love to blame the coaches for “not using Lonzo right” when the truth is that most of this is on Lonzo, not his coaches.
He has to get more aggressive with the ball and look to shoot more when he gets into the lane. He needs to use his size to his advantage and not just stand around the 3-point line. Some of this was part of SVG’s offense but part of it was just Lonzo not being aggressive.
A starting point guard in the NBA needs to shoot more than 1 free throw per game, so Lonzo has work to do on his game that only he can do.
But Willie Green should be in a unique position to get the most out of his talents, as he was a journeyman player who had to learn several different roles and he has worked with some great point guards as a coach.
Green was an assistant for the Warriors and got the chance to coach Stephen Curry while working under Steve Kerr, both things that should give him a unique perspective when it comes to guard play.
Since joining Phoenix as an assistant, Green has gotten the chance to work with Chris Paul, one of the sharpest point guard minds in the game, and to coach guys like Cameron Payne, a role player who Green has helped improve and find a defined role.
Lonzo Ball is somewhere between star and role player, so Green has plenty of talent to work with, and hopefully his experience as a player and coach will be the thing Lonzo needs to help him find his own role and thrive in it.