Alvin Gentry joined Sean Kelley on Monday’s somber edition — well the Pelicans portion, certainly not the Saints (!) — of the Black and Blue Report, and he didn’t downplay the significance of Solomon Hill being sidelined for the next 6-8 months.
“Once again, we’re in the situation where we really like our team,” said Gentry. “We’re ready to go. Solomon went through a year of learning the system and adjusting to it. He had a great, great year defensively, and now they’re talking about him being out somewhere in the neighborhood of 6 months or so.”
The New Orleans head coach went on to add that this situation is going to be a struggle for both the Pelicans and Hill: “I thought he guarded his position as well as anyone in the league last year, and he did a great job on guys like Paul George.”
After finishing his thought on New Orleans losing a really good perimeter defender, Gentry said that there’s a chance Hill could return as soon as sometime in February, but his conditioning could be problematic — dealing with a major leg injury curtails most forms of beneficial physical activity for months.
As far as replacements, Gentry wasn’t too keen on naming anyone currently on the roster, instead hoping the front office goes out and finds a solid substitute player.
“Well, I think we have some players that can fill in, but we really need to go out and find another guy of that size with a little versatility that can play some four or maybe even some two for us, depending on who we can get in those situations. But, yeah, we’re going to miss Solomon at the start.”
Despite the bevy of guards on the roster, Gentry wasn’t ready to commit to going smaller, commenting that it’s a route the Pelicans will explore but would be wary to use against teams with larger small forwards.
In case you need help reading between all of these lines, E’Twaun Moore, standing 6’-4”, is probably too small for Gentry’s liking on a nightly basis and both Darius Miller and Quincy Pondexter are not ready to carry large loads singlehandedly.
There’s no doubt the Pelicans will miss Solomon Hill, but it’s disappointing the calendar still says August and the excuses have already begun.