Newly-signed New Orleans Pelicans head coach Stan Van Gundy knows he’s getting a team with a lot of potential and a bright future for many years to come. The Pels have some good talents like Brandon Ingram and Zion Williamson as well as intriguing players like Lonzo Ball or Josh Hart. The older Van Gundy brother heirs an interesting team from Alvin Gentry and he knows he has something good in his hands.
After signing his reportedly 4-year deal with the Pelicans, he talked with Bleacher Report, saying he likes the youth of his new team and the balance they had with the young and experienced players.
“They’ve got nine guys that are under the age of 25,” Van Gundy said. “So a lot of young talent, and a lot of veteran guys who are still very productive and high-character guys. Jrue Holiday, JJ Redick, Derrick Favors, E’Twaun Moore. They have a good balance, but a lot of young talent that has a chance to grow. It’s an exciting team to think about. Obviously a long way to go. They ended up 13th in the West, so it’s not like you were right there knocking on the door, but the talent is there.”
Moreover, he revealed his thoughts about Zion Williamson, seen as the biggest prospect in the league since LeBron James. Van Gundy is high on him and he’s aware of the player’s talents that make him unique in the association. Van Gundy talked about his young star and how he sees a lot of Charles Barkley and Lebron James in the 20-year-old.
“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 are 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.”
Van Gundy is very happy to be back in the league after coaching the Orlando Magic (2007-12) and the Detroit Pistons (2014-18). He is a great fit for this team given his talent to develop young players. The Pelicans fans expect him to unlock Zion’s full potential and make him the superstar everybody expects him to be.