If the New Orleans Pelicans want to salvage their relationship with Zion Williamson, they must hire one of these three candidates to be his next head coach.
The New Orleans Pelicans were the biggest winners of the 2019 offseason, as they won the NBA Draft Lottery to earn the right to select Duke superstar Zion Williamson. However, he has not surrounded by the best head coaches in his short time in the pros. Alvin Gentry was fired after failing to make the playoffs in the Orlando bubble in Zion’s rookie year, and Stan Van Gundy was let go after one season under his belt.
Now, a report from The Athletic says that Williamson’s family is far from thrilled with the Pelicans organization and wants him to play elsewhere. The Pelicans know all too well about disgruntled superstars, because that was how they lost Anthony Davis, when they had no choice but to trade him to the Los Angeles Lakers. If the Pelicans want to right the ship, the best thing they can do is to bring in the right head coach.
Here are three candidates the Pelicans should consider hiring to get the most out of Williamson.
3. Kenny Atkinson
We start things off with current LA Clippers assistant Kenny Atkinson, who is best known for his run as head coach of the Brooklyn Nets.
The Nets were a middling franchise in the Eastern Conference after their blockbuster trade for Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Jason Terry blew up in their faces disastrously. But once Atkinson was hired as the head coach back in 2016, the Nets became better with each passing year. Perhaps Atkinson’s best work came in the 2018-19 season, where he led a team consisting of D’Angelo Russell, Caris LeVert and Spencer Dinwiddie to a playoff berth.
Despite what Atkinson’s 118-190 record suggests, it is shocking that Atkinson did not land a head coaching gig with another team last year. The Pelicans would be wise to consider hiring him as their next head coach this offseason, especially if they can add some shooters to surround Williamson on the court.