clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

New Orleans Pelicans say goodbye to Assistant Coach Jamelle McMillan, hello to Ainars Bagatskis

New, comments

The former Latvian National Head Coach is primed to take the place of a fan favorite assistant coach.

FIBA Olympic Basketball Qualifying Tournament Photo by Srdjan Stevanovic/Getty Images

According to Marc Spears, Jamelle McMillan will be joining the Phoenix Suns coaching ranks come next season.

At the conclusion of the 2017-18 campaign, many speculated that at least one of either Chris Finch or Darren Erman could be pried away from Alvin Gentry’s coaching staff, but in the end, it appears that another wonderfully helpful mind — who will be greatly missed — has succumbed to a better offer within the Association.

After working for Drake University as the Director of Basketball Operations, McMillan joined the New Orleans franchise as a coaching intern shortly after Anthony Davis was selected by the Hornets in the 2012 NBA Draft. In all, Jamelle spent six seasons with the organization and worked his way up the ladder, serving in player development and leading the 2017 Pelicans Summer League team as the Head Coach among other positions and responsibilities.

As far as McMillan’s replacement, it appears New Orleans may already has their eyes set on Ainars Bagatskis, the former national coach of Latvia, as he is slated to assist Kevin Hanson in Las Vegas next month.

Bagatskis has achieved results throughout his career. In two seasons at the helm, he led Budivelnyk Kyiv to consecutive Ukrainian Basketball SuperLeague titles. The following year he joined Nizhny Novgorod (Luke Babbitt played for them in 2013-14), and despite salary payment issues, he was lauded for his accomplishments. And for eight years in coaching for clubs across Europe, Bagatskis helped put the Latvian National Team on the map.

‘’Bagatskis has been at the helm of the national team since 2010. With him as coach, the Latvian squad gradually improved it results each year, from 22nd place at EuroBasket 2011 to 5th place at EuroBasket 2017,’’ Voins said. ‘’This is what I call excellent growth. The whole coaching staff was productive in their work.’’

If New Orleans decision-makers like what they see and hear during the upcoming slate of Summer League games, it seems natural to think that Bagatskis will find himself on the Pelicans bench next season.