Gayle Benson released a statement explaining, “After an extensive and collaborative search, Willie stood out among an impressive group of candidates as the best person to lead our team moving forward. We are very happy to welcome Willie as our new head coach and we look forward to working with him to guide our team on the court as we work towards bringing a championship to New Orleans.”
Griffin said of the hiring, “Willie has established himself as one of the most respected assistant coaches in the NBA. In large part, this is due to a tireless work ethic and authenticity of character. He brings a vast amount of basketball knowledge and experience to our team as both a coach and former player, along with exceptional leadership qualities and an innate ability to connect with players, staff, and fans alike. We could not be more excited to welcome Willie and his family to New Orleans.”
In a statement released by the team, Green thanked, “Mrs. Benson, David Griffin, and the entire Pelicans organization for having faith in me to lead this talented group of players moving forward. It’s a blessing and an honor to get this opportunity in a special place like New Orleans. I look forward to getting to work and immersing myself and my family into the local community.”
Green made the playoffs 7 out of his 12 years in the NBA. He thrived for a dozen years as a second-round draft pick that saw starter’s minutes some night and never left the bench on others. He charted a path that everyone in NBA circles respects. Green now has to lead Zion Williamson and Brandon Ingram into the next (first) phases of their playoff careers.
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Though most everyone compliments his ability to develop and strengthen relationships, Green has led the Suns’ summer league team and help guide Phoenix to the top of most defensive metrics. Green’s next challenge is taking the New Orleans Pelicans to the top of the standings. Thanks to his time in Golden State Green has the championship ring to knock on the table should he choose too but he was hired in part to add a more calming, considerate touch to the lead chair. The NBA Draft and Free Agency are still weeks away but the 2021 season starts Tuesday for Green and the New Orleans Pelicans.