New Orleans Pelicans v Minnesota Timberwolves
MINNEAPOLIS, MN - MARCH 8: Derrick Favors #22 of the New Orleans Pelicans shoots the ball against the Minnesota Timberwolves on March 8, 2020 at Target Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
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Transcript: Pelicans center Derrick Favors media availability - July 7, 2020

Derrick Favors Media Availability – July 7, 2020

On if going to Orlando and being away from his children was a difficult decision:
"It definitely was. Five weeks is definitely a long time, and with me personally, I have my son's birthday coming up on the 22nd and my daughters' birthday on August 14th, so it was definitely a tough decision, but I got the blessing from my family to just go out there and do my job and they'll hold it down for me while I'm away. I'll probably FaceTime my kids probably every day – well, my family probably every day I'm down there. I'll spend hours doing that, but it will definitely be a tough transition for everybody, so I think we probably just have to look at the good part about it and just go out there and do our jobs."

On his experience attending a social injustice rally and about what the NBA is doing regarding the movement:
"Well, the march that I participated in, I actually knew the guy, Rashad, who got killed. He was one of my best friend’s cousins, so I knew him, and that was in my neighborhood where it happened at the Wendy's in Atlanta, so that kind of hit home for me. A lot of people that I knew wanted to put together kind of a protest march, and I participated, and I kind of used my platform to go out there and try to bring attention to what happened, and it's something that just kind of hit home for me. I think the NBA is doing a good job, a great job at just bringing attention to what's going on and letting players have a voice and kind of let everybody have a voice. I mean, it's a tough situation that's going on, and it's sad, man. People are doing their best. The NBA is doing a great job with just letting guys express how they feel and supporting them with the protest and what they're putting on their social media pages and everything. I think the NBA is doing a great job."

On the responsibility of the NBA as a whole to resume play and what message that might send to other basketball leagues and players:
"I think a lot of guys have concerns about going inside that bubble, especially with the coronavirus and everything going on. I think the NBA's doing as best as they can right now in a tough situation, as far as just trying to keep everyone safe while also making sure that we finish the season out. I think a lot of teams, a lot of high school teams and college teams and players are going to be paying attention to see how it goes because they have to start their season up soon, so I think there are concerns. I don't really any right now, but I think there are a lot of concerns. A lot of guys probably feel that they won't trust it as much because they don't know if they'll be able to trust certain players following the rules, following what we're supposed to be doing. Like I said, the NBA is doing the best they can. We can't sit here and complain about it. We just got to go out there and just stick to the game plan and stick to the rules and just hope for the best, because I mean, we really could – the NBA really could just call it off and be like 'we're not having a season,' but no, they're taking it upon themselves to try to make the best out of a bad situation right now. Like I said before, of course, there are concerns, but I don't really have any right now."

On the uncertainty of head coach Alvin Gentry going to Orlando with the team:
"I mean, coach has to do what's best for him. I don't think anybody will hold that against him if he chooses not to go. He's got to do what's best for him, but as far as the uncertain part, man, for the past 4-5 months, that's all it's been. Nobody knows anything right now. You know what I'm saying? With going to Orlando, I mean, I don't know what to expect. No one knows what to expect. We can just hope for the best. Hope that everybody remains safe and remains healthy and kind of stick to the rules and what they've got going on. Hopefully, no one catches the virus down there, and it spreads. It's a lot of uncertainty, but like I said before, we're just hoping for the best in a tough situation right now."

On if two weeks is enough time to get your body right to play 5-on-5 basketball:
"I think that what we've been doing now individually kind of leading up to the 5-on-5 practices and the real practices, I think that guys will be ready. We'll probably still have to take it slow. Get guys back used to playing 5-on-5 high-intensity basketball, so it will probably take a couple of weeks, but I think when that first game rolls around, I think guys will be ready. I think everybody in that bubble will kind of be ready. I just pray that everybody will be healthy, stay healthy throughout that time."

On what the keys were to the team’s improvement on defense:
“I think guys got comfortable communicating with each other on the defensive end. They built that trust on the back side of the defense and guys like Jrue and Lonzo did a great job of setting the tone early – coming out and guarding guys early, Jrue guarding the best guy on the other team. With myself, just communicating, directing guys on the back side, making sure I could control the paint. I think guys just bought into the system, started developing trust, communication, and we just started playing hard and having fun and believing in that system is what, I thought, helped turn it around.”

On whether his impeding free agency factored in to his decision to participate in the return-to-play:
“I definitely thought about it. Going into free agency, you don’t want to have an injury, you don’t want to go out there and have a bad showing, because that can affect you going into free agency, so I definitely thought about it. Right now, I trust my body and I trust what I’ve done up to this point, and hopefully I don’t think anything will affect me right now, but it’s definitely something to think about. I know a couple of guys already said they [weren’t] playing because they have free agency coming up, and they don’t want to jeopardize that. It was a tough decision, but I said ‘I’ll go out there and play,’ just to see how it goes, and I just hope and pray that I don’t get hurt, but other than that, I’m ready to go.”

On his impressions of Zion Williamson since workouts began at the practice facility:
“I’ve seen him in the gym after they come off the court, he’s in the weight room and the training room, and his body has definitely improved. He slimmed down a lot, he looks more toned, I should say. You can see he really took advantage of the break. I don’t know what he did, he probably changed his diet, or worked out more, or whatever he did, I don’t know, but he definitely looks different. Definitely looks slimmed down, like I said, looks like he lost a couple of pounds, and he looks like he’s ready to play, ready to dominate again.”

On the absence of Associate Head Coach Jeff Bzdelik in Orlando and if that puts more responsibility him:
“Definitely, I think so. I know guys on the team look to me and Jrue for the defense and the only thing we can do is just communicate with the guys, just try to share our experience with guarding certain situations, guarding certain teams, guarding certain players, and we have a lot of good defenders on this team. [Coach Bzdelik] will still be with us through Zoom calls before the game with game plans, and how to guard teams and scouting reports and stuff, but I think we have a good group of guys who are smart defensively who play hard and hopefully we can make up for him not being there with us.”

On if the break was beneficial to him both physically and mentally:
“This break allowed me to get right mentally. Especially after my mom passed, I just wasn’t in a good place, and I always used basketball to kind of take my mind off of it. Now, I feel like I’ve had my time to grieve and self-reflect on her passing away, and now I feel like I’m in a better place mentally. Physically I feel good. Even during the break, I was doing small stuff, like making sure I was stretching certain muscles, making sure I was keeping flexible, just trying to do the best I could, and it worked out, so
coming back, I feel great physically and mentally, and I’m ready to go. If we had a game tomorrow, I’d be ready, so when we get down to Orlando I’ll be ready to go.”

On what it will be like playing without fans:
“It will definitely be different. It will be just like playing AAU basketball again. I haven’t played that in about 12 years, so I’ll need to get back used to that, but it will definitely be something different, not having the crowd out there, not having the momentum of when you make a big shot or a big play. I think guys are….we kind of don’t pay attention to the crowd during the game anyway, so it will be different, but I think guys will just go out there and do their job and not really worry about the fans not being there, and we’ll just have to adjust to it.”

On his level of confidence that the NBA will be able to successfully manage the return-to-play and complete the season:
“I’m confident about it. Like I said before, I think they are trying their best to make something good out of a really tough situation right now, and I’m confident in what they’re trying to do. I know a lot of guys probably don’t feel that way, but I just look at it that way. They are giving us an opportunity to finish out the season, and an opportunity to on the business side, continue to make money, and they’re just trying to do the best they can, which I appreciate it. I’m just going to go out there and play as hard as I can and appreciate the moment, and try to take advantage of it.”

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