Before leaving Warriors, Gentry has one task: Outscore LeBron, Cavs 

Quantifying the impending loss of Alvin Gentry — the Warriors' associate head coach and one-time disciple of Mike D'Antoni's "Seven Seconds or Less" strategic madness — is not easy. Nor is it easy to slow down, or go through, LeBron James for an NBA championship.

The latter LBJ-sized challenge comes to a head at Oracle Arena tonight, while the former departure will wait until after the Finals' completion, with Gentry agreeing last weekend to become the New Orleans Pelicans' new head coach.

By all accounts, Gentry played an integral part helping create the Warriors' offensive magic this year (averaging a league-best 110 points and 27.4 assists per game, up from last year's 104.3 and 23.3 totals). He'll be equally crucial forging a path through a suddenly scorching Cleveland team with a 12-2 playoff record, all while making made crystal-clear where his mind, body and soul stand at present.

"Every ounce of energy I have is right here in this arena." Gentry said Wednesday. "I've been in this league 27 years, and this is the closest I've ever come to a championship. Nothing is going to deter me from having everything directed towards that."

Gentry led the Suns to the Western Conference finals in 2010 during his 2009-13 tenure as head coach, following six seasons as a Phoenix assistant, and three prior as Los Angeles Clippers head coach. His offensive mind was seen as one of the primary reasons the Pelicans wanted him to cultivate the rare talents of Anthony Davis, and Kerr made evident the impact Gentry has had on him personally.

"Alvin is the one I talk to the most," Kerr said of his coaching staff. "In terms of substitution patterns, `What do you think about taking a timeout here? What play would you like to run?' It's very collaborative.

"He's been huge for me, given this is my first year. I had to get a feel for the game, the rhythm, and it's great having that sounding board, as someone's who's been doing this a long time. And to do it Alvin's way, with a smile and a great vibe about him. What he brings this team goes way beyond drawing up a play. His personality, his energy and his spirit. we're gonna miss that, but I'm thrilled for him. It's a great opportunity and he deserves it."

Today, Gentry will be at Kerr's side yet again to help crack a Cleveland defense that held Atlanta (the league's second highest-scoring offense) under 90 points in three of the four Cavs victories.Cleveland's late-game lineup in some ways mirrors that of Houston, using lengthy wings such as Iman Shumpert and J.R. Smith, with the rim-protection and offensive rebounding of Tristan Thompson (who averaged 1.75 blocks and 11 rebounds against the Hawks) inside. James can be a nuisance to combat in guard-forward switches.

"We just play," Gentry said of such potential switches. "We do what we do, it's been successful doing it that way, there's no reason for us to change."

The same might be said of Gentry's potential success going forward against the Cavs, and beyond in New Orleans — though he quickly pushed the spotlight away from the growing, league-wide perception about his up-tempo and in-game offensive mastery.

"They talk about the offense and what you've done," Gentry said. "I'll give you three names: Steve Nash, Chris Paul and Steph Curry, it makes it pretty easy ... What Steve [Kerr] and I have tried to do here is make sure the guys understand spacing, ball movement and unselfish play. And they bought in from Day 1."

About The Author

Jack Ross

Pin It

Speaking of...

More by Jack Ross

Latest in Golden State Warriors

© 2019 The San Francisco Examiner

Website powered by Foundation