David Griffin : Grade B+
Griff has done so many positive things since his arrival that I'm not even going to try listing it all. His leadership gives hope to a positive and consistent future.
So why just a B+? I think he made one major error that required a reduction in grade. Not getting Kyle Kuzma in the trade with the Lakers was a blunder. There was no way in the world that LeBron was going to allow Kuzma to stop him from getting Anthony Davis. At the time , Kuzma arguably would have been the second best player that we received from the Lakers if included in the deal. When AD was with the Pelicans He was considered a top Ten player in the league. As soon as AD was a Laker he was a top three player in the world . It's amazing how much your value increase if you're in LA. Are you going to tell me that possibly just getting one starting player if healthy was fair value? So what were we getting for such a player? Hopefully a starter in a healthy Brandon Ingram, possibly a starting point guard that had trouble shooting, a reserve, and draft picks that may be of some value. Why was Kuzma important? He was a proven rotational player on a great rookie contract. You can never have too many good players. This was a huge mistake.
There are a couple more questionable decisions made that I would like to mention. I did not understand the decision to leg go of Christian Wood. In his short time with the Pelicans last year he was productive. He is young with room to improve and inexpensive in NBA terms at a million a year salary. I also believe that he is more talented than at least three players currently on the roster. However I do understand if there were other issues involved.
The last thing I will mention is retaining the coach. There are three other coaches that comes to mind within seconds. But again I can understand giving Gentry another shot after last year. It will be interesting to see where this goes in the near future.
Alvin Gentry : Grade C-
Gentry was really hard to grade. Offensively when the ball is moving it's a beautiful thing to watch. Defensively it's just ugly. In the NBA if you don't play team defense you're in trouble. And it seems like we are in trouble almost every night. Do we even scout the other teams and players? It doesn't seems like it. There doesn't appear to be any cohesion at all on defense. Do we even know how to line up defensively to defend an inbounds pass under the basket? Forget about boxing out to rebound the basketball, even though I will admit that's a problem league wide. We have a young team and maybe the players would be more receptive to doing so if it was coached. If we did a better job rebounding and taking care of the basketball instead of the many just terrible passes we would easily have ten more wins or ten less losses. I can't put all of the blame on Gentry for player mistakes but he has to at least share in it. If he is coaching rebounding and taking care of the ball he's not doing it good enough.
Personnel playing time is something else that I question. When Zion went down early why wouldn't you get your younger players some experience, in particular NAW. It appears that Gentry has nearly destroyed NAW's confidence. If he makes a single mistake he is removed unless the outcome is not in question. Those things being said I'm not really sure it is fair to give Gentry a grade without a healthy Zion. but overall I think C- is generous.
Next up, player grades.