NEW ORLEANS, La. (WVUE) - Welcome into Juan’s World where the writing was seemingly on the wall. And Alvin Gentry’s eventual firing was written in sharpie.
According to ESPN, The Pelicans parted ways with their head coach this morning. Just days after his team bowed out of the Orlando re-start with a disappointing 2-6 record.
But, Gentry’s firing wasn’t just because of those eight games. It was his entire resume with the Pelicans that brought about today’s move by Owner Gayle Benson and Executive Vice President David Griffin, who had been their head coaches biggest cheerleaders.
In Gentry’s five seasons at the helm, he won 175 games, which is second all-time in Hornets/Pelicans franchise history. He also leaves as the only coach in franchise history to have a winning playoff record, 5-4.
But, far out-shining those two superlatives, are the 225 loses he suffered while on the bench. That many loses while having two of the most heralded players in the league in Anthony Davis and Zion Williamson.
Granted, he did have his share of injury issues to work through and around. His first season saw him use 42 different starting lineups. And up until the day he coached his final game in Orlando, he was still tinkering with the lineup, deciding to sit his starters and giving one final look at the younger players.
Turns out, it would be his final look at those guys or any Pelicans as the teams head coach.
I have mixed emotions about Gentry’s firing. You won’t find a more genuine guy. He’s friendly, approachable and always ready to share a laugh with you.
He’s also a very good offensive-minded coach that wants to play an exciting brand of basketball.
But, I remember asking him five years ago, why fans should expect him to lead the then-Hornets to consistent wins and the playoffs when he’d barely done it anywhere else he’d been a head coach. Only three playoff appearances in his many years of coaching.
His answer then would probably be the same today. Because he believes in his system. I, like everyone else, wanted to give him a chance. But, I was always skeptical.
Five years later,.It could be argued that the Pelicans are no further along in becoming one of the NBA’s elite teams now than they were when he first took over.
The one big similarity is that superstar Anthony Davis gave the head coach great optimism then. Now, the next hire will have Zion Williamson to look forward to.
This move was necessary. And in my mind, it was long overdue. New Orleans deserves a winner on the court, and to get that, they need the right guy leading them from the bench.
Best of luck coach Gentry. But, it’s time for the Pelicans to turn the page.
Juan’s World, Juan’s World. Excellent!!!
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