Pelicans Playback: Three takeaways from Caroline Gonzalez’s April 7 appearance
Prior to Tuesday’s rebroadcast of New Orleans’ March 8 win vs. Minnesota, Pelicans radio sideline reporter/analyst Caroline Gonzalez joined Fox Sports New Orleans TV sideline reporter Jennifer Hale on the “Pelicans Playback” show. Here are three takeaways:
Pelicans players want the opportunity to finish the job.
New Orleans was 3.5 games out of eighth place in the Western Conference when the NBA season was halted, with two late-March matchups forthcoming vs. Memphis. After a 7-23 start, the Pelicans had climbed a major mountain just to get back into playoff contention and were looking forward to the final 18 games when play stopped.
“It was so hard to get to this point,” Gonzalez said of the journey. “You put yourself in a position to make that playoff push. JJ Redick (said on a recent podcast), ‘Whatever finishing the season means, I want to have an opportunity to finish it.’ ”
Gonzalez on part of the motivation New Orleans has to continue playing basketball: “If you were to spend seven months at your job working on one specific project, then to have someone say, ‘Don’t worry about that project anymore,’ you’re going to be pretty frustrated.”
Jrue Holiday, rock-solid leader.
Holiday entered 2019-20 as the only New Orleans player who’d been an All-Star, as well as the longest-tenured Pelican, giving him valuable familiarity with the franchise in more ways than one.
“He’s the heart of the locker room. His maturity on this team and knowing this team and Alvin Gentry, he’s been consistent all season and that guy you can count on,” Gonzalez said. “More importantly, he’s been able to adapt (to an offensive role). When you have guys like Brandon Ingram, Lonzo Ball and Zion Williamson coming into the lineup, it might not be easy to adapt, but (Holiday) made it look so easy, especially on offense. On the defensive end, I can’t say enough about his defense.”
Twitter questions from Pelicans fans steered in the direction of off-the-court queries, asking about personalities on the roster. Gonzalez picked Williamson as the team’s funniest player, saying the rookie possesses “dry humor, so not everyone always picks up on it.” Other selections: Josh Hart as the loudest talker on the practice court (“he talks a lot on defense and prides himself on defense and energy”); Holiday as the most musically inclined, acknowledging his interest in guitar and other instruments.