The New Orleans Pelicans Should Hire Dave Joerger

Because the Sacramento Kings are a Roland Emmerich movie of a franchise and because Vlade Divac is as power-hungry as he is incompetent—and why do those things always seem to go together like ketchup and french fries?—Dave Joerger is set to get his walking papers in a face-to-face meeting that was leaked on Twitter way in advance.

This leaves Joerger as a free agent a year after taking a Kings team that was languishing in NBA hell and leading them to 39 wins, a legitimate playoff run that ended only when the insane West got away from them (if Sacramento were in the Eastern Conference, they’d probably have won enough games to take the 6 seed and threaten the Pacers for the 5), and some of the most close-to-their-ceiling young talent development we’ve seen in years from any NBA team other than maybe the 76ers?

Dave Joerger is a Process coach. He is, on some fundamental level, cut from the same cloth as Brett Brown.

And that makes him an absolutely perfect fit for the New Orleans Pelicans.

Think about it. The Pellies are going to dump Anthony Davis somewhere this offseason, and it would be a true fool indeed who seriously expected to get veteran win-now value back for him. They’re getting young players and/or draft picks, probably a lot of them if the demands they put on the Lakers are anything to go by.

Yeah, I know they were about as willing to deal with the Lakers as Pat Robertson is to pray at a mosque, but the fact remains that with Davis under contract for another year, New Orleans is still hoping to get a dear price for their embattled superstar.

The point is that we know the Pelicans are going to get younger and a lot more raw next season and beyond.

They need a coach who can take young talent and turn it into something approaching its best-case scenario ceiling.

And since the Hawks aren’t about to fire Lloyd Pierce and the Sixers aren’t going to let Brown walk (unless they get thrashed by Brooklyn in the playoffs), that means bringing in Joerger.

Just look at what the Kings accomplished under Joerger.

De’Aaron Fox went from a historically awful rookie (-0.6 WS, -1.2 VORP) to a solid starter who even merited a bit of All-Star talk (.106 WS/48, 2.0 VORP) in his second year.

Buddy Hield became the shooter we all knew he could be. In Joerger’s offense, Hield has shot 42.9 percent from three since coming over from New Orleans as a rookie. He made the leap this season to .108 WS/48 and a 2.1 VORP.

Willie Cauley-Stein went from a raw prospect with serious holes in his offensive game to a solid two-way big man, raising his VORP to 2.3 and his WS/48 to .146. His PER has risen every single year since he was a rookie. Joerger developed him and made him a guy with a higher ceiling than he had when he was drafted.

And Marvin Bagley III may already be well on his way; after a rough start, he finished with a positive VORP (0.1) and, you guessed it, a WS/48 above the Starter’s Mendoza Line (.110).

All young players. All the best versions of themselves. And all thanks to Dave Joerger.

Go ahead and let Joerger coach up the 8 second-round picks the Pelicans have in the next three drafts. Let him coach up the young guys the Pellies either trade for or draft with the first-rounders they’ll get in any Anthony Davis trade.

And go ahead and tell me this can’t be a conference finals team, even in the West, in 2023 when all those new young guys are nearing restricted free agency.

Heck, if the Ping-Pong balls bounce just right the way they did in 2012, who’s to say we won’t see Joerger turning Zion Williamson into the next LeBron? Like, to the extent that won’t already happen because it’s Zion Williamson.

The Kings are making one of the dumbest front-office personnel moves in even their illustrious franchise history for stupidity going back to the early days of the NBA.

New Orleans is coached by Alvin Gentry, who is a joke and who should be in an assistant’s role or a broadcast booth.

Replacing him with Joerger is an absolute no-brainer.