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Pelicans add defensive guru Bzdelik to staff

The New Orleans Pelicans have named Jeff Bzdelik an associate coach for defense and promoted Chris Finch to associate head coach for the offense, the team announced Friday.

Bzdelik, 66, worked the past three seasons with the Houston Rockets and received credit for the team’s defensive turnaround. He began a stint as associate head coach in 2016, then briefly retired in 2018. He was persuaded to come out of retirement in November after the Rockets got off to a rocky start.

His contract was not renewed following Houston’s second-round exit in the playoffs.

Bzdelik started in the NBA 30 years ago as a scout, eventually working for Pat Riley with the New York Knicks and becoming head coach of the Denver Nuggets from 2002 to 2004. He was a college head coach with Air Force, Colorado and Wake Forest.

The Pelicans also hired former Suns assistant Jamelle McMillan as an assistant coach, promoted Joe Boylan to assistant coach/director of player development and promoted Michael Ruffin to an assistant coach/player development position.

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