METAIRIE, La. — The New Orleans Pelicans held their end-of-the-season press conference Friday at the Ochsner Sports Performance Center.
The New Orleans Pelicans roller coaster season saw the team take over the top spot in the Western Conference in December, weather a 10-game losing streak in February, and close out the regular season 16-13 to earn a postseason berth.
The Pelicans fell to Oklahoma City, 123-118 Wednesday night in the play-in tournament.
Griffin cleared up the confusion surrounding Zion Williamson’s status towards the end of the season. Williamson told reporters earlier this week, “Physically, I’m fine. Now it’s a matter of when I feel like Zion.”
Executive Vice President of Basketball Operations, David Griffin, clarified where Zion was really at in the rehab process.
“Nobody followed up on what that means. Physically, I’m fine, means I’m currently not injured. He wasn’t physically cleared to play basketball. He was playing one-on-one. He went up and windmill dunked pregame. Well, that’s not the skillset that makes you capable of playing skilled five-on-five basketball. He was never cleared to play five-on-five basketball,” says Griffin.
The Pelicans endured an entire season with their top two players, Brandon Ingram and Zion Williamson, missing a combined 91 games.
C.J. McCollum, Brandon Ingram, and Zion Williamson only played 10 games together.
When healthy, they’ve shown they are one of the best in the Western Conference and that gives them confidence about the direction of the team.
“In that locker room was the number one team in the west. Whether we can get on the court at the same time or not is a different question, but the talent is clearly there,” says Pelicans forward Larry Nance Jr.
The Pelicans finished the season 42-40.
A result they did not want but an eye-opening experience that showed what the team is capable of.
David Griffin provided this message to fans about the team’s future.
“We’re moving in the right direction. We may not be moving as quickly as you would like it to happen, but as long as we grow from what we learned, nothing is fatal. This only gets bad if you try to go too far too fast and put yourself in a position you can’t get out of financially. We’re really well positioned to be sustainable in the future with an incredibly talented core of young players,” says Executive VP of Basketball Operations David Griffin.