It’s still early days for Willie Green and the New Orleans Pelicans, but already there are some noticeable differences from Stan Van Gundy.
We are only two games into Summer League, but I like what I’ve seen from the Pelicans so far and have paid special attention to new coach Willie Green and how he is handling his young roster.
The Pelicans have won both of their games behind solid play from their rookies and second-year guys, particularly Trey Murphy III and Naji Marshall, who have both looked outstanding in Summer League so far.
I spent a lot of time watching the bench and huddles to see Willie Green in action and there are some obvious differences from his predecessor.
New Orleans Pelicans: Willie Green brings a new voice
Watching Willie Green command a huddle is much different than watching Stan Van Gundy. Green is very calm, doesn’t raise his voice. He’s firm and clear with his instructions but most importantly, he is calm:
With such a young team, it’s important to have that calming voice in the huddle and locker room. I am not saying Stan Van Gundy’s style of communication is wrong, but it was certainly different and in the end, he didn’t mesh well with his young team.
Willie Green has a strong and calm presence which I think will work well.
The New Orleans Pelicans are going to push the pace
Willie Green is going to have a much younger, more athletic and hopefully deeper team to work with than Stan Van Gundy did after the Pels jettisoned guys like J.J. Redick, Nicolo Melli, Steven Adams and Eric Bledsoe.
So far, it looks as though Green wants to push in transition, something the Pelicans did not do nearly enough of last season in my opinion. The Pelicans played a lot of half-court isolation ball like a team from the 1990’s last season and I don’t think that is going to be the case with Willie Green.
You could see him prodding his young Summer League team to run every time they had the chance but especially off of steals and blocked shots.
This is going to get Zion Williamson more easy looks and the Pels shouldn’t have to rely on him to do everything in the half court.
The Willie Green era has gotten off to a great start and I look forward to revisiting this topic as we learn more about his style.