Rookie Pelicans coach Willie Green is going to have some veteran voices in his ear.
New Orleans announced Wednesday they were hiring former Warriors assistant coach Jarron Collins as an assistant on Green’s staff, and that veteran NBA head coach Mike D’Antoni was being hired as a coaching consultant. Already on staff were Casey Hill, Fred Vinson and Teresa Weatherspoon.
“This is a cohesive group of high-character individuals with diverse backgrounds and skill sets,” Green said in a statement. “I’m confident that their coaching and playing experience at the highest professional and collegiate levels, combined with their work ethic and team-focused approach, will help build the foundation we need to be successful.”
Collins left the Warriors looking for a chance to be a lead assistant and move closer to a head coaching job (the top two spots in Golden State are locked in with Steve Kerr as head coach and Mike Brown as his assistant). Collins had worked under Kerr for seven season as was on the staff for three NBA championships and five Finals appearances.
D’Antoni is a should-be-in-the-Hall-of-Fame coach who helped revolutionize the modern NBA with his seven seconds or less offense in Phoenix. One of the brighter basketball minds in the league, he has 16 years on NBA benches, then spent last season as an assistant under first-year coach Steve Nash. He is reportedly open to another head coaching job, but in the short term will make a good person for Green to bounce ideas off as he winds through his first NBA season.
These hires for the Pelicans are bright spots for a franchise that has swung and missed on big names and otherwise had a rather uninspiring free agency period.