'I'm thankful I get to coach this team' - Pelicans HC Green lauds the depth of his roster
The New Orleans Pelicans were missing offensive force Zion Williamson, but head coach Willie Green was ecstatic with the contributions he got from up-and-down his roster in their 113-102 home win against the Memphis Grizzlies on Tuesday.
Brandon Ingram was his usual efficient self with 19 points on seven-of-14 shooting, while second-year wing Trey Murphy III made the most of his starting opportunity by showcasing his deep range, hitting three-of-six three-pointers and finishing a big contested dunk.
NBA All-Defensive team shoo-in Herbert Jones scored more than half of his shots and defended all five positions, and their bench was also excellent.
Larry Nance Jr showcased his skills with 19 points (eight-of-10), seven rebounds, two assists and two blocks, backup point guard Jose Alvarado had 12 points (five-of-11) and six assists, and rookie Dyson Daniels continued to impress.
DYSON DIME! pic.twitter.com/lW27cAHfyd— New Orleans Pelicans (@PelicansNBA) November 16, 2022
The 19-year-old, who was selected eighth overall, grabbed a team-high nine rebounds with a steal and a block in 17 minutes, earning praise from his head coach.
"[Daniels] and Herb [Jones] give you a comfort level when they're out on the floor," Green said. "He's only 19, but he doesn't play like it.
"He's been working. He stays in the gym working on his shot, he understands the game at a high level.
"We all feel comfortable putting him on the floor. I'm super excited about what he did tonight, and what he'll continue to do in the future."
Despite Williamson missing the game, Green opted to play starting centre Jonas Valanciunas only 13 minutes, telling reporters that he feels general manager David Griffin has assembled the weapons to give him the luxury to sit such an important piece based on matchups.
"It was a tough matchup game for 'JV'," he said. "Steven Adams played 13 minutes, JV played 13 minutes, so we had those guys matched up against each other.
"This was more of a smaller game, smaller fours and fives who are moving around, cutting, playing with force and pace. We tried to match their team in that way – it's something we've been working on.
"That's what the game is coming down to, guys who can play multiple positions, can handle the ball, can defend, can shoot the three-ball at a high clip,
"We put guys on the floor that can do all of those things – I'm thankful I get to coach this team. [Our front office] has done an amazing job of continuing to build our roster.
"Sky's the limit, we'll continue to build from here, but definitely grateful."