Griffin touts Pelicans success, character and desire to return to play this year

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Kyle Kuzma, Zion Williamson
(Photo: Stephen Lew)

On a conference call with media Thursday, Pelicans Executive Vice President of Operations David Griffin shared several thoughts about the state of the New Orleans Pelicans.

Griffin said that the pandemic caused by the novel coronavirus is “much larger than basketball.” Griffin echoed the thoughts of NBA commissioner Adam Silver that “it dwarfs all sports.”

With regard to the possibility of the season resuming, Griffin said he hopes teams model an offseason of preparation, a form of training camp, before games would resume for proper conditioning to prevent possible injuries. Griffin added that he would love to bring basketball back to New Orleans when the period of isolation we find ourselves in now finally ends.

“I do believe very strongly that in this market, being who we are and as a leader in the community that it is very important that we come back in some form or fashion,” Griffin said.

The New Orleans Saints are a blueprint for Griffin and the Pelicans in terms of renewal and restoring hope to a wounded community.

“I think we’ve always taken from the 2006 Saints and Falcons game that was replayed on ESPN the rebirth that that represented from a spiritual standpoint for the community here,” Griffin said. “We view ourselves very much the same way. We feel that we have a responsibility, somewhat, to come back in some form or fashion. I will tell you we’re hopeful we get that opportunity. Whether or not that translates optimistic, I really can’t say.”

Griffin stressed that he loves the makeup of the team, that the Pelicans have “selfless, high character players on the team.”

The Pelicans are meeting daily by Zoom, players only meetings, according to Griffin.

Speaking of players, Griffin stated that JJ Redick has been the team’s most vocal, important leader this season. Griffin pointed out that Redick’s donation to the Food Bank goes exactly to the type of culture the Pelicans are building in New Orleans.

Griffin says he would consider the 2019-20 Pelicans season a success, even if the season does not resume and the team does not make the playoffs or regardless of what would occur with the remainder of the season if it resumes. Griffin stated that he is proud of what the Pelicans have done, on and off the court, overcoming a rough start.

The Pelicans had won two straight games and were 28-36 and tenth in the Western Conference, trailing eighth place Memphis by three and a half games for the final playoff spot in the conference. If the season ended today, New Orleans would miss the playoffs but would be in the Draft lottery once again with a very promising young nucleus returning next season.

Should the season resume, New Orleans still had two games left with Memphis, two with Sacramento, which was tied with the Pelicans and three with San Antonio, which trailed New Orleans by a half game. Portland was also tied with the Pelicans but New Orleans had already swept all four games with the Blazers, ensuring the Pelicans would win any tiebreak with Portland.

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Ken Trahan

Ken Trahan

Owner/CEO

Born and raised in the New Orleans area, CCSE Owner and CEO Ken Trahan has been a sports media fixture in the community for nearly four decades. Ken started NewOrleans.com/Sports with Bill Hammack and Don Jones in 2008. In 2011, the site became SportsNOLA.com. On August 1, 2017, Ken helped launch . Having accumulated national awards/recognition (National Sports Media Association,…

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