According to multiple sources, the New Orleans Pelicans will add Denver Nuggets associate coach Chris Finch to Alvin Gentry’s staff for next season. The offensive guru is considered to be the main architect of the league’s fifth highest rated offense that revolved around center Nikola Jokic.
The New Orleans Pelicans are closing in on the hire of Nuggets assistant coach Chris Finch to join Alvin Gentry's staff, league sources say.— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) May 19, 2017
Marc Stein’s tweet was later confirmed by The Advocate’s Scott Kushner.
I can confirm @ESPNSteinLine's report that Chris Finch will fill a spot on Alvin Gentry's staff.— Scott Kushner (@ScottDKushner) May 19, 2017
According to Stein, the main reason the Pelicans have an interest in adding Finch is to help fulfill the potential of the Anthony Davis and DeMarcus Cousins pairing.
The Pels, sources says, are eager to add Finch's offensive brainpower to the staff to spark the Anthony Davis/DeMarcus Cousins partnership.— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) May 19, 2017
Although New Orleans finished with the 26th rated offense last season, they failed to significantly improve on that side of the ball upon Cousins’ arrival. Following the All-Star break, the Pelicans offense still floundered too much for everyone’s liking, ranking 18th over the final 25 games of the season.
Conversely, the Nuggets were dynamite all season but especially after the coaching staff inserted the dynamic Joker into the starting lineup.
Nuggets were #5 in ORTG and #1 since DEC 15 when Jokic became the starter. The style the Nuggets adopted on DEC 15 was brilliant, IMO.— Adam Mares (@Adam_Mares) May 19, 2017
It’s not only rare to see a big man handle the biggest chunk of an offense, but also for a coaching staff to give their blessings in today’s largely guard dominated league.
And I cannot stress this enough. Not every coach would've thought of allowing a 6-11 C to play PG the way Jokic does.— Adam Mares (@Adam_Mares) May 19, 2017
Finch helped pave the way for Jokic to be able to utilize his immense talents so it’s not hard to see why the Pelicans think he should be able to help Cousins accomplish similar results in New Orleans.
Upon the trade for Sacramento’s former superstar, Jrue Holiday struggled at times to initiate the offense. Starting Tim Frazier and moving Holiday off the ball failed to produce the desired effect. Moreover, with Davis and Cousins dominating a lot of possessions to begin with, the offense understandably stagnated all too often.
“It’s amazing what happens when nobody cares who gets the credit,” Malone said after the Nuggets routed Cleveland. “You pass, you cut and everybody is sharing it. It’s a fun way to play and it’s contagious.”
Since the first day Gentry took over for Monty Williams, he has always preached pace, space and movement. As we can attest, results have not followed, and with New Orleans knocking the trend and going unconventional by building through two bigs, the odds seemed more than ever stacked against the current head coach.
Let’s see if Chris Finch, another pair of watchful eyes and brain filled with pages upon pages of offensive know-how, can help swing the odds back in Alvin’s favor and maybe, just maybe, we’ll finally be treated to highly entertaining and winning basketball inside the Smoothie King Center.