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2021 NBA Finals may determine next New Orleans Pelicans head coach

Chris Paul vs. Jrue Holiday will be great fun, but don’t overlook the competition between Charles Lee and Willie Green!

NBA: Phoenix Suns at Milwaukee Bucks Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

Two of the best players in New Orleans franchise history will soon battle as opponents when the Milwaukee Bucks and Phoenix Suns clash in the 2021 NBA Finals.

Bet on a lot of Louisianians paying close attention to all the action.

Chris Paul spent six seasons with the New Orleans franchise; Jrue Holiday, seven. They both rank in the top 4 of an assortment of categories when examining this team’s career leaderboard: games, minutes, field goals, free throws, assists, steals and points.

The statistical accomplishments are great and will always be remembered, but that’s not why these two figures remain widely popular here locally and are beloved practically as much as when they last played on behalf of the Crescent City. CP3 and Jrue built a legion of lifelong fans because of how they handled themselves both on and off the court. Anthony Davis is a special basketball talent, but he failed to make a similar lasting impression.

Winning a championship would cement Paul’s status among the best point guards to ever play in this league. For Holiday, it would provide all the validation that’s largely been missing from his career. As Pelicans fans remember well, he’s deserving of more than just an underrated tag year after year.

In addition to the two point guards, other former residents will be involved with these Finals: Monty Williams, Randy Ayers, Jeff Bower, E’Twaun Moore, Langston Galloway and Willie Green. That’s quite a lengthy list, but one name is going to be of particular interest to the current Pelicans front office — as well as another not on it.

Willie Green and Charles Lee, assistant coaches on the Suns and Bucks respectively, are believed to be the leading candidates to fill the head coaching vacancy in New Orleans.

In an on-going evaluation process that is desperate to unearth the best fit with Zion Williamson and Brandon Ingram, it’s a super nice bonus that Green and Lee will be on opposite sides of the floor in the NBA Finals. I know if I was either David Griffin, Trajan Langdon or Swin Cash, I would prefer to study every second of these two candidates from up close and personal, comparing and contrasting everything.

In what manner do these assistant coaches interact with their respective teams during the course of these ultra competitive games? How much advice are they doling out? How much support are they offering? How are players reacting to their input?

Learning as many details as possible in this highly pressurized environment could be a difference maker. Thankfully, there should be a lot to glean.

Seeing the Pelicans play for a championship is the dream. Having to settle for two small market teams led by a couple of all-time New Orleans greats and a former head coach who is easy to root for makes for a really good consolation prize.

Just keep in mind that while viewing these familiar faces, the 2021 NBA Finals could help determine the next man at the helm of the New Orleans Pelicans.

For more Pelicans talk, subscribe to The Bird Calls podcast feed on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher or Google Podcasts. You can follow this author on Twitter at @OlehKosel.