Hagan: I feel bad for Alvin Gentry

Hagan: I feel bad for Alvin Gentry
Pelicans head coach Alvin Gentry.


I’m not letting head coach Alvin Gentry off the hook for some of the Pelicans’ past issues, but the 2019-20 season? What a run of bad luck. It is bad luck, right?

They started 7-23, including a 13-game losing streak, before starting to turn things around in late December. Not only were they without Zion Williamson for all of that, but they also missed Derrick Favors, along with other injuries sprinkled in here or there.

But after the NBA bubble-opening loss to the Jazz, a game that they could have won, I can’t help but feel for a coach that’s once again facing the media without answers to why Zion was limited to 15 minutes.

This whole chapter of Zion Williamson has been weird. His privacy absolutely deserves to be respected, and I’m not asking to know why he had to leave the bubble to deal with a family matter, but how could it have set his progress back so much that he needed such a strict minutes limit?

Even in his NBA debut, Zion was given 18 minutes. Against Utah on Thursday? Just 15. Why? Conditioning?

Keep in mind that unlike most of his teammates, Zion was allowed to remain in the Pelicans facility during the NBA season hiatus as he continued his rehab. While there wasn’t any time on the court, he still got plenty of supervised conditioning. Then he ramps up, as normal, with the rest of the team.

And you’re telling me one week away from Orlando set him back that much?

With no explanation, some of the social crowd broke out the pitchforks for head coach Alvin Gentry (again), but clearly, the medical staff has been given the final say, even if the game, and maybe the postseason, are on the line. But they’re not answering the questions. Gentry is. And it’s got to be getting old.

No one’s asking anyone to push Zion beyond his limits. We’re just asking why, despite Zion himself saying that he’s just fine and hasn’t had any setbacks, is he still constantly being held back instead of unleashed like a normal 20-year old with game-changing abilities would?

And the answer isn’t there.

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