The head coach first divulged some strategy, stating that the Pelicans plan to attack opponents often in the post through DeMarcus Cousins and Anthony Davis. In a league where the lineups continue to get smaller and smaller, the Pelicans will attempt to go in the opposite direction and use their size to their advantage.
“Well, that’s what we’re going to have to try to do,” said Gentry. “I mean we were speaking the other day in one of our coach’s meetings and we were saying that it’s almost ludicrous to go out and try and play small ball with a team like Golden State. They’re the best small ball team in the world — well, maybe the best small ball team ever. So, you’ve got to try and counter what they do and obviously we’ve got two big guys that we can demand that they guard on the block. That’s how we’re going to try to attack the situation, and yeah, the trend right now in the NBA is to play small ball. What we’re going to try and do is exploit the advantages that we have and obviously we have two of the probably top three or four big men in the game right now.”
After hearing Gentry place a great deal of importance on pace towards the end of last season, this latest notion is music to my ears, and I’m sure to all of you all, too. The positives, however, didn’t stop there.
“I think Jrue can handle anything.”
In regards to Holiday’s transition to shooting guard, Gentry believes it should go smoothly due to Jrue’s versatile skill set and the fact that he has garnered enough experience playing off the ball here in New Orleans. And later in the interview, Gentry smartly reminded the listening audience that Holiday was overburdened mentally last season, having the weight of family issues on his shoulders most of the time.
Gentry feels Rajon Rondo’s leadership will be instrumental, and he feels the point guard chose New Orleans over other teams — where he could have potentially made more money — because of fit. This is quite understandable considering Rondo has always operated best when given the freedom to run a team, and I agree having a decisive playmaker on the floor could help Holiday, Davis and some of the team’s shooters.
As far as the inevitable question concerning how two sports franchises can work out of the same building, Gentry lauded ownership, Mickey Loomis and said, “I think it’s a matter of us just being healthy more than anything.”
Speaking of injuries, Gentry admitted missing key personnel the last two seasons was problematic, but he thinks the team is ready to go this season despite the early losses of Solomon Hill and Frank Jackson.
“I think that we’re healthy,” said Gentry. “Obviously losing Solomon hurts, but we’re healthy enough and I think our guys are ready to make that move. So if you’re asking me if I think that can work, yeah I definitely think it can work.”
And regarding all those Boogie and The Brow trade rumors, Gentry comically remarked, “Aww, sheesh, it sounds good to them, but there’s nobody in our building’s talking about that, okay.”