NEW ORLEANS, La. (WVUE) - The Pelicans have not played since March 8th as the NBA season continues it’s indefinite pause due to Coronavirus.
The team was able to continue holding workouts for two weeks while taking precautions but the league has now closed all practice facilities “The league just closed the practice facility last Thursday," Pelicans Executive V.P. of Basketball Operations David Griffin told the team’s podcast. "Untwil then we had a really good situation in place with our guys. We’d had incredible turnout, all the voluntary workouts we were doing. We were able to do one player per basket, one coach per basket. Aaron Nelson and Tom Nastad and their staff in the training room. In the weight room with Jason Sumerlin and Dan Wendt. We were really fortunate that we had good turnout and the flow in the building was really good and then when the league shut everything down Thursday, it sort of changed things for us rather abruptly so i guess I would say I haven’t had to learn a new normal yet. Things are coming along really well and I think our guys are in a really good space. We’ve checked in with them daily, all seventeen that were in town yesterday reported they were doing well so it’s good.”
When the season was put on pause, the young Pelicans were hitting their stride and chasing the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference. With a record of 28-36 and no clear sign of when play will resume, Griffin reflected on his team’s campaign “There are some wins that you look at and think those are impressive wins. But for the most part, I look at our season and I see such constant growth. And that’s the thing that excites me most as we’ve learned how to integrate Zion into the flow of the offense and he’s gotten in better shape. The way that he’s started to find himself, the way we’re all working together and seamlessly working together with the ball dominant presence that good says an awful lot about Lonzo and about Brandon Ingram and Jrue Holiday and what their mindset is. They’re about the right things. And I think because of that, we’ve been able to progress rather quickly. So it certainly makes that you hope that when we do come back, and I believe that will happen, that we can pick up where we left off.”
It wasn’t all smooth sailing in Griffin’s first season in New Orleans as a 13-game losing streak punctuated the starting stretch without budding star Zion Williamson but Griffin saw promise in the second portion “Once we got healthy and had the ability to put a representative lineup out there and our coaches were able to have the rim protection they needed when Derrick Favors came back, things changed dramatically. Because we have such good character and players that want to be about each other, when the snowball starts to move in a positive direction, it moves very quickly.”
Griffin’s comments all come from the New Orleans Pelicans Podcast, published on March 26th, 2020.