This morning and 15 minutes fashionably late inside the Pelicans practice facility, Alvin Gentry delivered his final press conference of the season. He touched on a number of topics, but as expected, he began by focusing on all the injuries New Orleans endured through the season which led to 42 different starting lineups. The head coach claimed that not only did the tally of missed games hinder the team's success, but it made it difficult to properly evaluate the personnel.
Despite the turmoil, Gentry believed the Pelicans have a lot to look forward to down the road, thanks to a core of Anthony Davis and Jrue Holiday. He thought both players had fantastic seasons, but expects improvement, especially in Davis' case. Gentry referred to AD needing to work on his post game this summer (check out David's review!) as well as building a stronger base. He reiterated the notion that Davis will remain at power forward to limit the interior banging inside the paint.
As for the rest of the roster:
- Gentry didn't reveal anything novel regarding Tyreke Evans, stating injuries wiped out important minutes in training camp.
- Quincy Pondexter was a big loss throughout, when looking at what he did for the team during last season's playoff run.
- Gentry praised Omer Asik for his rebounding prowess, but said it wouldn't be fair to give him anything other than an incomplete grade. He believed a lack of team offensive continuity limited Asik's effectiveness, and in turn, minutes.
- Luke Babbitt was complimented by Gentry for his great stretch of play in the final weeks.
- James Ennis deserves a future in the league and Tim Frazier had a great run, but Gentry was proud of how they performed considering they were "flying by the seat of their pants." Both Ennis and Jordan Hamilton never had the opportunity to go through a standard practice.
- NBA rules prevented Gentry on going into any depth regarding Ryan Anderson, Eric Gordon and Norris Cole.
Alvin Gentry admitted that he would like to see the Pelicans add a versatile player, standing about 6'7'' and possessing a good handle. (Nicolas Batum sounds like a perfect match!) This should not come as a surprise after watching both Alonzo Gee and Dante Cunningham struggle to add enough offensively at small forward.
Concerning the upcoming NBA draft, Gentry failed to provide details, merely stating the team is open to all possibilities that will improve the team.
The Pelicans head coach stated he will sit down with Dell Demps (scheduled to meet with the media next week) and Mickey Loomis some time next week to devise a plan for the future. Gentry made it clear he likes the existing general manager, believes they work well together and that they share a common vision.
Gentry confessed he wished he would have urged the team play with greater pace, and he expects the entire roster to put forth the consistent, high effort seen during the last 2-3 weeks of the regular season. In addition, he wants to see the ball movement mimic what the MASH rotation accomplished at the end the season from the standpoint of assist totals. Gentry plans to reflect in full on the 2015-16 campaign soon with the rest of the coaching staff, a group he remains extremely fond of, and figure out the best direction the players, team and strategies should proceed.
Lastly, Gentry was nothing but supportive of the medical staff, and he referred to Holiday's eye injury twice during the conference. He stated he's watched the trainers perform their duties every day, working diligently.
As for non-related Pelicans topics:
- Alvin Gentry expressed a growing love for the city.
- He stated the locals are more supportive than residents of any other city in America, whether he's dining at a restaurant or simply walking down the street.
- Alvin downplayed his age, stating he feeds off the energy of the young players and their choices in music.
- Gentry on Kobe Bryant's 60 points last night: "One of the greatest competitors to ever walk out on the floor."
- Gentry has no regrets leaving the Golden State Warriors, but claimed, "they're going to be difficult to beat," in the upcoming postseason. He loves their versatility -- that they can still play big when they go small thanks to Draymond Green. He thinks the Warriors still have a chip on their shoulder after a number of people downplayed their playoff schedule one year ago.
- Gentry's playoff prediction? "A lot of good teams will be playing for the next two months."
"It's the most passionate city I've ever seen. I've lived here for 9 months and I can see why you fall in love with it."— The Bird Writes (@thebirdwrites) April 14, 2016