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After Genius Level Wheeling And Dealing, Pelican’s Exec David Griffin Turns To Psychology

Another smart move by Griffin who has made a lot of them lately.

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NBA: New Orleans Pelicans-Press Conference
 Apr 17, 2019; New Orleans, LA, USA; New Orleans Pelicans Executive Vice President of Basketball Operations David Griffin during an introductory press conference at the New Orleans Pelicans facility. 
Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

At some point, New Orleans exec David Griffin is going to make a false move. That time is not now.

After his brilliant performance from the Davis trade through draft night, Griffin sat back and looked at what he had done and one of the first things he did was to take pressure off of #1 pick Zion Williamson by saying that “this is Jrue Holiday’s team.”

It’s surely true - at 29, Holiday is an experienced player and 14 guys currently listed as Pelicans (the roster will be trimmed soon enough) are 25 or under - but that doesn’t change the fact that it’s a smart move on Griffin’s part.

And the thing is, having watched Williamson for a year, he’ll be totally fine with that. We’ve been talking about his emotional intelligence for months now. He’s the new guy and he has a keen desire to fit in and to make his group function better. We have no doubt that he’ll let Drew run the show and be happy to do it. This is a guy, remember who:

  • in high school gave his MVP trophy to a teammate who scored his first basket
  • in a summer event brought water to his teammates when he had to sit out
  • made it a point to include Duke walk-on Mike Buckmire (who has since earned a scholarship) in his encounters with the media
  • said at Duke that “it’s JR’s team”

For all his talent, Williamson is genuinely humble and his impulse to make his group better and tighter will serve the Pelicans well. They may have headaches with some guys but we can’t imagine it’ll be with Williamson.

Griffin’s next test is free agency. According to ESPN, the Pelicans have about $31 million to put into free agent acquisitions. They could use some experience, some size and some three point shooting. Keep an eye on what he does here.

Not too long ago the Pelicans looked like a wounded and perhaps dying franchise. Now? They look like the future.

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