Alvin Gentry officially adds Darren Erman and Robert Pack to staff

by Jim Eichenhofer
@Jim_Eichenhofer

Virtually every new NBA head coach brings in some new assistants, as Alvin Gentry officially did Monday, when he announced that Darren Erman and Robert Pack would be part of the New Orleans Pelicans staff in 2015-16. But in taking a page from Steve Kerr’s successful book in Golden State, Gentry also gave credit to the work of New Orleans’ previous staff, most tangibly by making the decision to retain incumbent assistants Fred Vinson and Kevin Hanson.

Gentry explained the two new hires, along with the two retained assistants, during his first New Orleans media availability Monday:

  • Erman, who will serve as associate head coach, is Gentry’s point man in fixing the Pelicans’ 22nd-ranked defense. Gentry described him as a coaching gym rat; Erman has already spent considerable time in the team’s Metairie practice facility watching film of last season’s Pelicans. “If you want to find him, all you have to do is come and look in this building right here,” Gentry said of Erman’s work ethic. “He’ll be here 23 out of 24 hours. Tremendous guy, great worker. He’s going to be great for our defense.”
  • Pack, a former NBA point guard who was an assistant for the 2009-10 New Orleans Hornets, was part of Oklahoma City’s staff last season but was not retained when the Thunder's head coach changed from Scott Brooks to Billy Donovan. “I’m really excited about (him). I always thought he’d be a great coach,” said Gentry, who alluded to frequently seeing Pack working with players on the court before games. During Pack’s first stint in NOLA, he was credited with helping the team’s young backcourt players improve noticeably.
  • Vinson has been instrumental in helping Tyreke Evans make major strides with his jumper, improving from far below average to a much better shooter from 18-20 feet last season. “With Tyreke, the way his shot has developed over the last couple years, he’s worked directly with Fred on that,” Gentry said. “I just didn’t see any need to bring people in, to start all over from the start. Because shooting is kind of like golf… if you have the same person teaching you, you have a chance to advance.”
  • Hanson has worked extensively with Anthony Davis on Davis’ ever-expanding offensive game, making the 22-year-old a much more well-rounded threat compared to his rookie year. Gentry indicated that Davis has enjoyed working on the court with the 6-foot-10 Hanson, a former pro overseas. “One of the selling points to me was that AD thinks he has learned so much from Kevin and advanced his game,” Gentry explained. “To me, there was no reason to even think about changing anything.”