Pelicans Head Coach Stan Van Gundy talks about Zion Williamson and his role in New Orleans, compares him to LeBron James and Charles Barkley.
The New Orleans Pelicans just hired Stan Van Gundy as their new head coach earlier today. Van Gundy has a massive job on his hands, as he has to maximise Zion Williamson’s potential and ensure that the Pelicans have a shot at the NBA Title.
— Andrew Lopez (@_Andrew_Lopez) October 21, 2020
In his first interaction post the selection, Stan talks about what made him leave his spot at TNT and return to the coaching world. The Pelicans were sold upon SVG as a teacher, who could turn their young players better. Defense oriented teams are what Stan is most famous for, and the Pelicans look forward to the same.
Zion Williamson resembles LeBron James, Charles Barkley: Stan Van Gundy
The #1 pick from Duke in the 2019 draft, Zion Williamson is the face of the Pelicans ever since Anthony Davis left them.
The 6’6′ forward has been a popular prospect ever since he was in high school. After taking the head coach job, SVG talked to Sean Highkin of Bleacher Report about how Zion resembles LeBron James or Charles Barkley.
“He’s unique. That combination of size, quickness and explosive power, it really hasn’t come along. People were trying to make the comparison to LeBron or to Charles Barkley, and that’s probably as close as you’ll get.
“But he’s unique. He’s not really those guys. LeBron’s always been a primary ball-handler, point guard, point forward, whatever you want to call him. Barkley was maybe a closer analogy to Zion.
“What everybody notices is the big body and the great leaping ability, but he’s also got an incredible first step offensively and plays the game very unselfishly. He makes quick decisions, the ball leaves his hand quickly, so other guys can enjoy playing with him. He’s not a ball-stopper.”
Zion played 24 games last season, after missing the initial part of the season due to a knee injury. He averaged 22.5 points, 6.3 rebounds, and 2.1 assists per game while shooting 42.9% from 3s and 58.3% from the field.
Pelicans roster looks strong
Along with Zion, Stan Van Gundy would look forward to coach the other young talents the Pelicans have as well. There are 10 players returning to the Pelicans this year and they have quite a few draft picks as well.
Including Brandon Ingram, New Orleans has 10 players returning in 2020/21. They also have 4 picks in the draft (1 first and 3 seconds) and the projected $9.3M midlevel and $3.6M biannual exception available. https://t.co/DHRQ7POGqq
— Bobby Marks (@BobbyMarks42) October 21, 2020
Next years’ Pelicans would be a team to keep an eye on. Their young talent with an experienced coach could blossom great results.