After weeks of speculation, the New Orleans Pelicans finally have a new head coach: 39-year-old Willie Green, who will become the third-youngest head coach in the NBA.
Green spent 12 years in the NBA, playing for four different teams (including New Orleans) after spending his first seven seasons with the Philadelphia 76ers. His last playing season was in 2014-15 and he’s served as an assistant coach in the NBA since 2016, spending three years with the Golden State Warriors before joining the Phoenix Suns in 2019.
One of Monty Williams’ most valued assistants, Green helped Phoenix finish second in the Western Conference this season, winding up just two wins shy of winning an NBA championship.
In fact, the Suns’ run to the 2021 NBA Finals is the reason for his delayed announcement of his hiring, per ESPN’s Andrew Lopez.
Viewed as both highly knowledgeable and affable, Green will be responsible for the development of one of the most young exciting players in the NBA (2019 first overall pick, Zion Williamson), which may even take precedence over the teams win-loss record.
Green will also be tasked with the development rest of Pelicans’ sizable stable of young talent, including Jaxson Hayes, Nickeil Alexander-Walker and Kira Lewis Jr.; a reported sticking point with former Pelicans head coach Stan Van Gundy.