Nicole Sweet - USA TODAY Sports

Gentry: Pelicans defensive struggles rooted in execution, turnovers

Plus: a Zion sighting at practice

Mark Menard
November 07, 2019 - 7:44 am

It's no secret that the biggest obstacle the Pelicans have faced this season has been the development of their defensive chemistry. The Pels D is, simply put, a mess. Coach Alvin Gentry says it's not a complicated fix. They have to keep players in front of them and stop dribble penetration.

"You gotta do it for at least three dribbles," Gentry said. "And then I think it gives your help an opportunity to get there. But if it's blow-bys or one-dribbles, it makes it really tough on your defense because you don't have the opportunity to get there to be in help position."

Gentry also said though that if they stop shooting themselves in the foot in terms of ball security, their defensive struggles will lessen.

"When you turn the ball over and teams are running at you with numbers, that makes all your defensive stats go up," Gentry said.

Meanwhile one welcome sight at Pelicans practice yesterday was the appearance of injured rookie star Zion Williamson. Williamson didn't participate, but he was at least in the building, and Gentry says that's a good thing.

"Yeah, I think it's always good," Gentry said. "He's on our team, and he's a team guy, so just to have him around here... and the guys seeing him and him seeing the guys is nothing but beneficial really."

Gentry wouldn't say though when he expects Williamson to be available to practice just yet.

"I know that he wants to be out there as soon as he possibly can, so we'll just have to see," Gentry said.

The Pelicans get one more night off. They're back on the court tomorrow night in the Smoothie King Center facing the Toronto Raptors.

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