Coach Willie Green: Pelicans remind me of Suns, we are close to taking next step



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Coach Willie Green: Pelicans remind me of Suns, we are close to taking next step

New Orleans Pelicans head coach Willie Green insists the Pelicans are close to taking the next step. The Pelicans thought that Green, who was the assistant for the Phoenix Suns last season, was the perfect candidate for their head coaching job.

The Suns, who have one of the most talented young core in the NBA, made the NBA Finals this past season. "This is a situation that actually reminds me a lot of Phoenix," Green said at his introductory news conference on Tuesday morning, per ESPN.

"Really high talented players. The staff, same thing. High character. People that love to come to work. Love to come together. We're really close to taking the next step. I believe going into next season that's our goal, that's our mindset.

That's what makes us a sleeping giant. We have two young All-Stars. Putting a lot of talent around those guys and really just making this team go."

Green excited about Zion Williamson

"Zion is a special talent," Green said.

"Quick. Fast. Athleticism. He can play-make. He can do a lot on the basketball floor. As I get together with our staff and continue to watch film, the thing about him is, the sky is the limit. It really is. That's what excites me.

I know that's what excites us. He's a guy that can do pretty much anything on the basketball floor." Pelicans executive vice president David Griffin is hoping Green will install a winning culture in the Pelicans.

"What we hope we're able to do in the coming weeks in the offseason and heading up through the following years is build a sustainable winner that's rooted in that gratitude and joyfulness led by Willie Green and the players that we're able to bring to the floor that can represent Steve Nash, that leadership voice, that shooting we need to put around our great young stars," Griffin said.

"We're heading towards that." Green wants to get close to his players. "When I think about coaching ... the best coaches are not the X's and O's," said Green, who turns 40 on Wednesday. "People can do that.

The best coaches are the ones that you know care about you. The best teachers. And connecting with players is no different than just connecting with people. You quickly realize you have a lot more in common than you don't. "That's sort of my take and my approach in basketball.

It's easier to get people to reach their max when they know you care about them. That's my way or our way of connecting with players."