Prior to Friday’s rebroadcast of New Orleans’ thrilling Jan. 16 win over Utah, Pelicans TV play-by-play broadcaster Joel Meyers joined Jennifer Hale on the “Pelicans Playback” show. During the 30-minute show, Meyers answered a series of Twitter questions from fans, but due to time constraints, couldn’t get to all of them. Here are Meyers’ answers to various queries that came in via social media Thursday and Friday:
Where do you see the Pelicans in 3 years? Do you think a Finals appearance is realistic?
Challenging for it is realistic. I think the window will just be opening, if you consider Zion Williamson will be in his fourth year by then, Brandon Ingram will be in his seventh. If you look at Golden State with Steph and Klay, they didn’t win right away, did they? It took a while for the Warriors, who first won a title six years after they drafted Curry and made many excellent moves over several drafts. Obviously we don’t know who else will be added here (in the next few years). Our basketball operations group – led by David Griffin and Trajan Langdon – look at what they did with their first draft class, amazing. And don’t forget (second-round pick) Didi (Louzada), who’s turning 21 this summer. This is an exciting time because the window is just opening up.
Do you think Brandon Ingram will reach his prime and be one of the best players in the league?
Yes. He has the potential to be an elite scorer. His improvement this year is so significant, that when you look at his numbers across the board – shooting percentages, he’s made more threes this season than he did in his first three seasons combined with the Lakers – if he keeps working, which I’m sure he will, his game is going to evolve. He can make threes, he can post up over smaller guys, and his court vision has improved as well. He’s going to be an All-NBA talent by the time he’s in his mid-20s, and he’s pretty close right now.
What’s your favorite Jrue Holiday hairstyle? Who is your favorite jazz artist of all time?
Well, I’ll take Jrue in any hairstyle. It makes no difference to me how he wears his hair, because he succeeds at such a rate, he doesn’t need my input. [laughs]
As far as favorite jazz artists, I’ll break it down into categories by instrument…
Piano: Oscar Peterson, Red Garland, Tommy Flanagan, Kenny Barron, Monty Alexander
Trumpet: Roy Eldridge, Miles Davis obviously, Kenny Dorham, Blue Mitchell
Tenor sax: Coleman Hawkins, Ben Webster, Sonny Stitt
Alto sax: Charlie Parker, Johnny Hodges, Cannonball Adderley, Art Pepper, Benny Carter
Voice: Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughan, Dinah Washington, Carmen McCrae, Diana Krall, Dianne Reeves
What’s your favorite moment so far from this season?
There are so many, too many to mention them all. A bunch stand out, like Brandon Ingram’s 49 points vs. Utah and JJ Redick’s left-handed game-winner in Sacramento. But with 18 games left to play in the regular season, I’m hoping the best is still in front of us.
Just how excited are you to watch this group grow and be able to call these games in the coming years?
I’ve been with teams that have succeeded before in the NBA. There is nothing I want than for this city to see the same kind of success. This city has been incredibly loyal to this franchise. We had electricity in the building when Zion debuted and the team was completely healthy that you could feel the electricity in the building. It doesn’t take much for New Orleans to everyone to have a great time. I want it for the city.
After the hiatus and the NBA resumes do you still think the Pelicans will be on track for the 8th seed considering they have one of the easiest schedules remaining?
Absolutely. One of the biggest reasons behind completing the schedule is that the Pelicans had an extremely difficult strength of schedule early in the season. The Pels have already gone through the difficult part, so why shouldn’t they be able to give the chance to try to capitalize on the easy part?
If you had the chance to play professional basketball what number would you wear and why?
Probably 9 or 6, because they represent my two favorite players growing up as a kid in St. Louis. Nine for Bob Pettit, but if that’s taken, I’d go with 6 for Stan Musial.
Who have been your favorite Pelicans over the years? Not just as basketball players, but also as individuals?
Jrue Holiday at the top of the list. He’s a quality person, great dad, great husband, comes from a great family. Watching Jrue grow since basically junior high into the man he is now, his parents have a lot to be proud of. Darius Miller is another great dad with a beautiful family. Ian Clark, who left us last summer, was a guy I really enjoyed talking to. Every edition of the team has a few guys you can talk to and break things down with, always some guys in the locker room who you enjoy talking to, and not just about basketball.
Which arena has the best popcorn?
First let me say I appreciate the refillable popcorn bucket at the Smoothie King Center, which is $9. In Brooklyn, the same size bucket is $17, so we do appreciate the pricing structure at home. On the road, the three places that stand out to me are Indianapolis – one of the leaders in the league for quite some time – and Sacramento’s new arena makes it fresh and is exceptional. Denver has an Orville Redenbacher stand in the arena – or one of those labels – that makes the popcorn fresh. But at the end of the day, ours at the Smoothie King Center is the best and it’s made fresh. I’ll never stop searching for the perfect kernel.
Joel, how do you compare/contrast the preparation/challenge/fun/excitement of basketball play-by-play vs. other sports?
Basketball is a dream to call because of the roster size. For example, when you do football, you’ve got 44 starters to learn. Baseball has so many different scenarios (with substitutions and pitching changes). But in basketball there is an eight- or nine-man rotation and you try to know everything you can about each player. Football – which also has all of these dime and nickel packages, for example – is a whole week of preparation. For football, I start preparing on Monday and start memorizing numbers and names. With basketball, there are 450 guys in the entire NBA, and I look at it like you should know all 450.