How has Alvin Gentry done so far this season? Are there areas you have serious concerns going forward?
Kevin Barrios: On January 9th I wrote a piece detailing my many concerns with the Gentry-fication of the offense — you can read it here. I'm still a big fan of Tyreke Evans being an integral part of this team. I knew the Kings' game would lead to the narrative of the team playing better with out him. However, I saw Evans get 3 assists in 6 minutes. I also saw Cunningham, Gordon, Cole, Gee and Anderson making wide open shots that they had been missing for weeks. I view that game as more of a fluky hot night. The Hornets game showed us more ball movement and another Anderson hot game. It's easy to get excited about the ball moving around and back-to-back wins, but I still have my concerns. Davis needs to be playing closer to the rim, he needs to be facing the basket and we need to have him rolling to the basket much more. The pick and roll needs to become a bigger part of this offense. In the last two games we've seen it run very successfully a handful of times — the final play against Charlotte and a devastating dunk from Ajinca against Sacramento. With all four of our top guards being so adept at getting to the rim and our two facing bigs (Davis and Ajinca) this should be a huge portion of our game. It's certainly better than trying to get Cunningham and Gee an open corner three.
Isaac Constans: On a grading scale: D-. I feel bad giving the guy an F, but this is a "run-and-gun" team. A run-and-gun team is not average in offensive rankings. The Pelicans are paradoxically both. A run-and-gun team is generally lacking defensively, but one that works is not (head over to the Warriors page). The Pelicans are lacking defensively and can't even score.
When you're not good defensively and not good offensively, the system has failed. I'm not giving up yet, because we're only halfway through Gentry's first year. But the misuse of players, the inconsistent rotations, unnecessary switches, and failure to properly highlight AD does not give the eternal optimist I am much hope. But to end on a positive note, some of Gentry's dead-ball plays out of timeouts are sheer genius, addressing a chronic downside in the Williams era.
Chris Cucchiara: I give Gentry a C- so far this season. He has been below average and a letdown from what many people with more knowledge about the NBA had me believe. I was led to think there would be exciting offense and fun lineups on a nightly basis. All we have seen is bad offense and bad lineups. The lineups that Gentry continues to run out there are putrid and really has me concerned for the Pels future with Gentry at the helm.
Jay Dunn: Not well, I think I'm going to write a piece on this pretty soon. It's true that a coach needs the right players to make his system work but it's also true that he needs to work with what he's got. To this point I haven't seen Gentry get the most out of what he's got. Early in the season I could give him a pass but at this point I'm starting to get worried. He's certainly had success in the association but that is made much easier when you have Steve Nash, Chris Paul, and Steph Curry and company. There is a part of me that thinks he's in over his head. I haven't completely given up on him yet however.
David Fisher: Gentry has earned a D from me so far this season. Through the first 20 games of the season the Pelicans ranked 16th in offensive rating at 101.5. In the last 19 games they ranked 20th at 102.2. There's no health or coaching excuse for the team getting worse on offense as the season has gone on relative to the league when the team brought in an offensive coach. The team has shown progress on the defensive end; where Gentry has largely let Darren Erman take control.
Beyond the stats are the optics. Gentry has repeatedly bashed the team's effort after games which has done nothing to fix the consistency issues. Nearly every solid performance by this team was immediately followed by a loss and Gentry rant afterward. Beat the Cleveland Cavaliers in overtime then got the door blown off by the Celtics. Victory on the road against the Utah Jazz followed immediately by a horrendous performance against the Phoenix Suns. Win over the Houston Rockets accompanied with a turd sandwich in Orlando. Beating the Mavericks starters chased by a loss to the Mavericks reserves. A narrow loss to the Los Angeles Clippers then a loss to the cellar-dwelling Los Angeles Lakers.
Not only are the bad performances (and subsequent rants) awful, they are becoming more frequent. 12 days, then 9 days, then 10 days, then 7 days. An Alvin Gentry "we don't play hard" post game conference is gradually becoming a weekly event!
Jonny Harvey: I genuinely need to wait until the All-Star break before making any sound opinions on Alvin Gentry, but I did expect Gentry to help Anthony Davis skyrocket into the best power forward in the league. Besides his increased rebounding stats, Davis is shooting less than 50 percent from the field for the time in his career, which makes me worry the fit isn’t quite there. But I won’t intensely judge so soon.
Quentin Haynes: I give him a D+. I found it odd people just wanted to move from him 20 games into the season. The Pelicans went 1-11, but mostly because of injuries. I think it’s also unfair if we don’t admit that he doesn’t have some of the fundamental players for his system. Point guard play has been up, down and injured for most of the year. The team’s one 3-and-D player has been injured all season and isn’t coming back. The defense scheme and play has been awful. Is that Gentry’s fault? I don’t think so.
There aren’t any areas of concern if the next GM, or Dell, brings in the right players. Brings in some better two-way players. Guys who can provide plus value on O and D. That’s been the biggest issue, I think this team has one player right now who does that in Davis. Holiday can do that, but has struggled on defense. Correcting that balance should be the number one goal this offseason.
Oleh Kosel: I don't think I could be convinced to give Gentry anything higher than a D grade. His lineups have been troubling, a number of in-game rotations questionable, and his strategies ineffective for lacking any consistency. After witnessing most of his post-game comments, I worry he doesn't have the proper understanding on how to make things work with younger groups, a common problem in his previous head coaching stints.
Owen Sanborn: It took awhile for Alvin to realize that it is kind of difficult to play an up tempo system with players who like to pound the ball into the floor. I think he has been starting to come around a little bit and allow his players to play more to their strengths, which is an encouraging sign. On the other hand, his rotations have been murky (Alonzo Gee got the starting nod a few too many times for my liking) and the offense hasn't exactly dazzled anybody. It hasn't been like Golden State firing Mark Jackson in favor of Steve Kerr to say the least. His temper tantrums on the bench have been absolutely fantastic however.