Pelicans’ head coach Willie Green embodies the resilience of native New Orleanians and Gulf Coast residents. We persevere through many a storm, bounce back, and fight on. Green and his Pelicans did the same this 2021-22 season. They are New Orleans.
Often fans may not agree with UNDISPUTED‘s Skip Bayless. But this time is an exception regarding his tweet about Pelicans head coach Willie Green.
“Willie Green is crying as he hugs the Suns and their coaches. That’s what I want to see. This man is the next great NBA coach. The Pels are in great hands.”
Skip, you’re correct, for a change.
It’s not often that a professional league head coach sheds tears after losing for millions to witness. Willie Green’s transparent display of emotions let many know that there’s a coach that genuinely cares about his team and winning.
Green has the respect and admiration of many in the NBA. The hugs, emotions shared, and well-wishes from the Phoenix players and coaches were enough to support what Bayless said, “This man is the next great NBA coach. The Pels are in great hands.”
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1-13 did not deter Green, the Pelicans organization, the players, and fans from believing they could still win and earn a playoff trip in 2022. Green said of the season that he was “extremely proud. We got a great group. They fought all the way to the end. So, we’re all proud of our guys.”
The success of a head coach is usually quantified by the number of wins, losses, playoff appearances, divisions, and championships won. Green’s rookie campaign led New Orleans to a 36-46 regular season, two Play-In Tournament wins, and 2-4 in the NBA postseason.
Green had the Pelicans on an improbable run that finally ended at the hands of the Western Conference’s No. 1 seeded team from Phoenix. Still, his faith in the three rookies — Jones, Alvarado, and Murphy III — during critical playoff moments was astounding. There were a few mistakes, but his constant tweaking of the lineup had the Pelicans pushing the Suns—especially Alvarado and Jones on Chris Paul.
“Very optimistic. I said it before. Our future is bright. We’ll soak this up, a number of things. The playoff experience was great for us, elimination games, the play-in experience leading up to that, and then this loss. We feel it, so like I told our guys in the locker room, I will work this summer. It’s going to determine what happens next season, and we’ll be back in the gym getting it in, getting ready,” Green said regarding the Pelicans’ future.
No crystal ball or voodoo spell can accurately forecast the New Orleans Pelicans’ future in 2022-23. Green cares. Players and fans respond to a genuine spirit like Green. Hopefully, Green’s leadership and approach to the game will translate to more wins, division titles, and championships for the Pelicans organization, which has desperately sought the right man as head coach.