Alvin Gentry updates status of Quincy Pondexter and Jrue Holiday
To his credit, Quincy Pondexter did everything possible to finish last season on the floor instead of the sideline, despite his own signs that there was something wrong with his left knee. According to new Pelicans Coach Alvin Gentry, Pondexter apparently intentionally missed scheduled MRI exams late in the 2014-15 season, because the small forward knew he wouldn’t like what the scans indicated. So instead of undergoing tests Pondexter believed would bear bad news and potentially force him to sit out the rest of the campaign, the 27-year-old played through pain, helping New Orleans reach the playoffs.
Pondexter, one of the team’s on- and off-court leaders, was fined for skipping the MRIs by the Pelicans.
“Dell Demps finally went to Quincy to talk to him, because it was so uncharacteristic for him to keep getting fined (for not following team rules),” Gentry said Thursday evening at a meeting of the city’s new 3-Point Club, a group of Pelicans supporters.
After undergoing knee surgery in May, Pondexter is expected to be limited over the next few weeks, with Gentry saying he “is not going to be available to us until November.”
Meanwhile, point guard Jrue Holiday will be on a restriction of 15 minutes during the early portion of the regular season.
“To me, the guy we have to get healthy and keep him healthy is Jrue Holiday,” Gentry said. "To me, he’s maybe the second-most important guy on our team. A healthy Jrue was good enough to make the All-Star team. His minutes are going to be very limited, all the way up until January, really.”
Gentry joked to the assembled group of fans – many of whom are Pelicans season-ticket holders – that he hopes they won’t potentially boo him for holding out Holiday late in a close game, because Holiday may be forced to sit due to the minute restriction.
Other notes from Gentry’s talk with fans:
- The coach said one of the team’s objectives is to replicate the atmosphere he experienced at Golden State home games in Oracle Arena, which may be the NBA’s most raucous venue. “Our goal is to have that type of atmosphere for 41 games in our arena,” he said.
- Gentry noted that the emphasis of training camp will be at the defensive end: “We’re going to play an exciting brand of basketball. We’re going to play with tempo, score a lot of points – I think guys like playing that way and fans really like seeing that kind of basketball. But for us to be really, really good, we have to be a great defensive team.”
- A grinning Gentry on Anthony Davis’ three-point shooting: “Some of the discussion has been a bit overblown. He’s not going to become Steph Curry and shoot eight threes a game. But when (an open shot is) there, he can take it.”
- While discussing his transition from Golden State to becoming New Orleans’ head coach in the spring, Gentry noted that he and Demps came to an agreement that they would not talk on the phone about the Pelicans until the Warriors’ postseason was over. Brief pause. “But Dell didn’t say anything about texting,” a smiling Gentry said, alluding to how eager he was to work with his new team.