Pelicans Pursuing Denver Assistant Coach Melvin Hunt


Melvin Hunt is destined for big things.

Hunt started the season as an assistant on Brian Shaw’s coaching staff in Denver, but was forced to take the helm once Shaw was fired. Hunt did a fantastic job motivating and putting their roster in a position to win in the post-Shaw era, something rarely seen from assistants at such a young age.

Shaw and Monty Williams were similar coaches. Both were put in charge of young, athletic rosters, and both decided to play at slow, defensive oriented paces.

Gentry is being brought in to push the pace, and create a newer dynamic offense for the Pelicans. Hunt was forced to do that exact thing last season.

Apr 15, 2015; Oakland, CA, USA; Denver Nuggets head coach Melvin Hunt pulls back forward Joffrey Lauvergne (77) by his jersey after being called for a technical against the Golden State Warriors during the fourth quarter at Oracle Arena. The Golden State Warriors defeated the Denver Nuggets 133-126. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

Under Shaw the Nuggets were 20-39. Once Shaw was fired, and Hunt assumed the position they finished the season 10-13, a much more respectable winning percentage.

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To be suddenly entrusted with that kind of responsibility at just 45 years old, and having been only an assistant, and improve that quickly is a huge accomplishment for Hunt, and will make him a very attractive addition to any team’s future staff.

The reason he fits so well with the Pelicans is that he knows first hand how to change a team’s offensive culture, and have immediate success without a long readjustment period.

Lots of coaches have offensive philosophies, but few can implement them smoothly and without harming the chemistry of the team.

Hunt is known to be an expert motivator and player developer.

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He will be able to help Gentry ease the team into their new offensive system, without hurting their continuity, and allowing immediate success with little to no learning curve.

Though at this point the Pelicans are the only ones showing interest, the job is a great opportunity for Hunt. Gentry is by all accounts an open-minded, progressive, and democratic leader who takes the advice of his staff very seriously.

Hunt could gain a lot of respectability and improve his reputation even more should the Pelicans take the next step.

If Gentry is able to transform the Pelicans like Steve Kerr did with the Warriors, his staff with be poached and given Head Coaching jobs just like Gentry was.

Mar 9, 2015; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr (right) and assistant coach Alvin Gentry against the Phoenix Suns at US Airways Center. The Warriors defeated the Suns 98-80. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

The only real negative to having Hunt as an assistant, is that he is probably destined to be a Head Coach, and so he might get promoted fairly quickly.

Regardless, this Pelicans staff is quickly becoming one of the best in the league.

Having Gentry as the open-minded, Head Coach offensive genius, Darren Erman as the young hot-shot defensive master, Robert Pack the experienced and respected NBA veteran, and Hunt to make sure everything moves along smoothly and efficiently is a recipe for success.

Hopefully Hunt accepts the job, because the only real negative here is that he might actually be too good for the position….

Next: How the Pelicans Could Trade Ryan Anderson