Report | Pelicans close to hiring Nuggets assistant Chris Finch

Christophe Elise/Icon Sportswire

A desire to see the Anthony Davis/DeMarcus Cousins experiment through is motivating the New Orleans Pelicans to seek out a particular assistant coach.

The team is closing in on hiring Chris Finch to join Alvin Gentry’s staff, Marc Stein of ESPN.com reports. Finch worked for the Denver Nuggets as an assistant last season. Stein reports the Pelicans are eyeing the 47-year-old Finch because of his offensive mind, with the franchise wanting to explore ways of better utilizing the Davis/Cousins combination.

Finch spent the 2016-17 season on the Nuggets’ bench under Mike Malone. His most notable NBA coaching experience came during five seasons with the Rockets from 2011-16. He earned Associate Head Coach of the Year honors for the 2013-14 season. Finch also coached the British national team at the 2012 Summer Olympics.

In each of Finch’s six seasons as an NBA assistant, his teams have produced a top-10 offense. While that’s hardly the sole work of an assistant coach, it is telling that he’s been a common denominator.

Bereft of a star talent, Denver finished this season as the league’s No. 3 scoring offense at 111.7 points per game. The Rockets obviously have ridden James Harden to success, being one of the league’s elite offenses during his run in Houston, but Kevin McHale, Finch and Co. helped give the 2011-12 Rockets — they of Kevin Martin and Luis Scola as the top two scorers — the No. 9 offense in the league.

New Orleans went against the grain by acquiring Cousins to pair with Davis. In a league gravitating toward floor-spreading offenses, the Pelicans trotted out an attack that would have been more in sync with the NBA of the 1980s or ’90s. They finished as the league’s No. 18 offense (104.3 ppg) and have Cousins under contract for one more season.

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