Griffin: Pelicans will be fast, long, athletic

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NEW ORLEANS – David Griffin’s enthusiasm and waistline have grown since his arrival in New Orleans.

“I gained 18 pounds from May 1 until August 1 and I was gone the whole month of July,” Griffin said Tuesday at the Greater New Orleans Quarterback Club presented by Home Bank at Rock ‘n’ Bowl.

It is Griffin’s third stop leading basketball operations for an NBA franchise, and he said he has learned from the other two.

In Phoenix, he said, “We were a team being coached by Mike D’Antoni. He was a revolutionary coach. We would prove that the team with the most points at the end of the game played the most defense.

“It doesn’t work that way. We learned a lot of things along the way.”

Griffin compared the scenario in Cleveland, where he said by the day after the NBA championship parade that sports-talk radio had moved on to the 0-16 Browns, to New Orleans, where the football and basketball franchises have common ownership.

“I feel really, really grateful that we have that connection,” Griffin said. “Mickey Loomis is about as good as there’s been in the NFL, and he’s right across the parking lot.

“By the grace of God, we’ve got Mrs. (Gayle) Benson as an owner. Mrs. Benson and Dennis Lauscha, they’ve been so receiving of the ideas we’ve put forth as a basketball group that it’s almost impossible not to succeed.

“The bandwidth they’ve given us hasn’t existed before. What we’ve done in terms of the renovations is we want to put our money where our mouth is. Culturally, we want to be about the right things, together. All of the players who returned after we got the improvements to the facility done were blown away.”

Training camp begins next week, but the Pelicans roster has been at work already.

“We’ve had 17 players on campus for three weeks,” Griffin said. “I’ve never seen that many guys in advance of training camp, anywhere. This group has been all about it, and all about each other.”

As for what Griffin expects from his first New Orleans team, “We will be the fastest team in the NBA, just like our Suns teams,” he said. “The other thing, we are crazy long and crazy athletic, young and full of energy.”

The 2019-20 Pelicans will be built around guard Jrue Holiday, Griffin said, and not 19-year-old Zion Williamson. “(Holiday) is everything you want a best player to be,” Griffin said. “Jrue Holiday is a grown-ass man.”

Griffin unveiled a new promotional campaign for the Pelicans, entitled “Won’t Bow Down.” One of the lines in the commercial is “Welcome to New Orleans. This won’t be easy for you.”

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Lenny Vangilder

Lenny Vangilder


Lenny was involved in college athletics starting in the early 1980s, when he began working Tulane University sporting events while still attending Archbishop Rummel High School. He continued that relationship as a student at Loyola University, where he graduated in 1987. For the next 11 years, Vangilder worked in the sports information offices at Southwestern Louisiana (now UL-Lafayette) and Tulane;…

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