Former NBA player Baron Davis delivered a blistering indictment of New Orleans Pelicans head coach San Van Gundy, stating that Van Gundy’s players don’t want to play for the veteran coach.
Dawg!! I said that’s the worst move ever. Teams should know better.
Those guys don’t want to play for Stan !!! Coaches like Stan can’t handle stars or superstars https://t.co/0y0CIJStjK
— Baron Davis (@BaronDavis) January 24, 2021
Davis’ agreement with Kendrick Perkins comes with the Pelicans off to a slow start with a 5-10 record for the 2020-21 campaign.
Van Gundy was hired by the Pelicans after they fired Alvin Gentry after five seasons at the helm of the team. During Van Gundy’s lengthy coaching career, he’s also served as a head coach with the Miami Heat, Orlando Magic and Detroit Pistons.
With that extended resume, the hope was that Van Gundy would be able to quickly develop the young Pelicans, who are led by 2019 top overall selection Zion Williamson.
The 20-year-old Williamson is joined by a pair of talented 23-year-old players, Brandon Ingram and Lonzo Ball. In addition, the Pelicans also have veterans Eric Bledsoe and Steven Adams as part of their starting lineup.
The biting jab of Davis about Van Gundy’s inability to handle top players is based on the coach’s past history with the Heat and Magic.
Van Gundy was fired by the Heat 21 games into the 2005-06 season with an 11-10 record and a roster that included Shaquille O’Neal and Dwyane Wade. Pat Riley took over the job and led the Heat to the franchise’s first-ever NBA title that season.
After resurfacing with the Magic, Van Gundy had center Dwight Howard at his disposal, but reached the NBA Finals just once. That came in 2009, when the Magic lost in five games to the Los Angeles Lakers.
The comments of Davis and Perkins may seem rash, given that the Pelicans have only played 15 games thus far this season. However, if the team continues to struggle, you can expect others to add their own criticism of the job Van Gundy is doing.