The expectations surrounding the Pelicans have rapidly ascended with the emergence of Anthony Davis.
Just three weeks after firing Monty Williams, the Pelicans agreed to a four-year $13.7 million deal with Gentry to take the reigns of a team that was swept by Golden State in the opening round of the 2015 playoffs.
The team also interviewed former Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau, eventual Magic coach Scott Skiles, former Clippers coach Vinny Del Negro, Fred Hoiberg, perhaps the most intriguing college coaching prospect in the NCAA, along with former Knicks and Rockets coach Jeff Van Gundy for the open position.
The Pelicans valued the experience Gentry brings, as he has 13 years coaching experience with the Heat, Pistons, Clippers and Suns, as he complied a 335-370 record.
Under Kerr in Golden State, Gentry helped transform the Warriors offense, utilizing a faster space and excellent ball movement to help transform the team into the most potent offense in the league, as the team averaged an NBA best 110 points per game and while playing at the fastest pace.
For a team so reliant on isolation plays to generate looks, the Pelicans are hoping Gentry can revitalize an offense that played at the third slowest pace in the league.
The sluggish pace employed by Williams during his tenure in New Orleans was not a fluke, as the team ranked last in pace twice and never finished higher than 22nd in pace during his five years with the team.
On the final day of the regular season, the Pelicans defeated San Antoino, eliminating the Thunder to clinch the final playoff spot in the Western Conference.
New Orleans blew a 20 point advantage to the Warriors in Game 3, their first home playoff contest in four years, as Stephen Curry buried a miraculous shot to force overtime, part of a 40 point, nine assist, five rebound effort on the night.
In his first playoff appearance, Davis averaged 31 points, 11 rebounds, three blocks, two assists and 1.7 steals per game.
Even with the Warriors top ranked defense keying in on him, Davis managed to convert 54 percent of his attempts from the field in an offense that was often predictable.
The main goal for Gentry will be unleashing Davis in a free flowing offense, allowing him numerous opportunities to finish at the rim, where he is nearly unstoppable.
Davis converted 73.4 percent of his attempts at the rim, throwing down 160 dunks in the process. While he is most lethal around the rim, the 22-year-old has already developed into a potent mid-range shooter, converting 45.8 percent of his attempts between 10-16 feet a year ago.
Last season, Davis averaged 24.4 points, 10.2 rebounds, a league-best 2.9 blocks, 2.2 assists and 1.5 steals per game even as the slower pace prevented him from additional looks on the offensive end of the floor.
The ability to coach the most promising front court player of his generation is what made New Orleans one of the most desirable jobs in the league.
While he can’t officially start until the championship round has concluded, Gentry is elevating the expectations for the Pelicans.