After just one season at the helm for the New Orleans Pelicans, Stan Van Gundy got the boot. This leaves a huge void at head coach for a young Pelicans team with a rising super star in Zion Williamson and a developing young supporting cast. With a busy offseason already in the fold for them, this now takes priority and adds to a huge list of roster needs that must be addressed.
Let’s take a look at the three best coaching candidates to take the reins in New Orleans.
Currently an assistant for the Brooklyn Nets, Ime Udoka would make for an ideal hire given his extensive background in the NBA. He was a rotational player on the San Antonio Spurs for years and later joined Gregg Popovich’s staff as an assistant coach and from there went on as an assistant coach for Brett Brown in Philly.
Having already worked with some of the NBA’s top stars as an assistant coach, Udoka has shown his strong relationship building and player development skills. These are both areas that are crucial for this young Pelicans team on the verge of postseason contention. In Udoka, the Pelicans could have a steal.
She’s considered of the greatest players in WNBA history and is currently an assistant for New Orleans. As a gold medalist and Hall of Fame inductee, Weatherspoon would bring a multi-faceted approach to this up-and-coming Pelicans team with her varied experiences as a player and coach, and she has already been acting as a mentor for Zion.
A former All-Star guard and WNBA leader in assists, Weatherspoon is the perfect replacement to bring this Pelicans team to the next level. She has earned this team’s respect as an assistant coach, which would only increase with her calling plays from the sideline. Bringing Weatherspoon into the fold as their head coach would be a mutually beneficial hire and a well-deserved promotion for somebody who has seen the game from so many different angles and experienced winning on multiple levels.
Without question one of the greatest floor generals the game has ever seen, Jason Kidd has also seen a lot of success in his recent stint as the lead assistant coach for the Los Angeles Lakers. After getting axed by the Milwaukee Bucks, Kidd has not gotten much consideration for recent head coaching vacancies. However, he wants back in the head coaching game and is angling for another gig.
While Kidd had his issues with the Bucks and Brooklyn Nets before that, he can use those stints as important learning experiences. Kidd spent time with another young freak athlete in Giannis Antetokounmpo and could draw on that experience with Zion. During his time with the Lakers, he has definitely gained respect from their players and shown that he can bring an innovative approach to the game if he’s put in the right situation. With Kidd on the sidelines for the Pelicans, Zion and their young core could grow and develop even more than expected.