New Orleans Pelicans v Portland Trail Blazers
PORTLAND, OR - FEBRUARY 21: Nicolo Melli #20 of the New Orleans Pelicans drives to the basket during the game against the Portland Trail Blazers on February 21, 2020 at the Moda Center Arena in Portland, Oregon.
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Transcript: Pelicans forward Nicolò Melli media availability - July 16, 2020

Nicolò Melli Media Availability – July 16, 2020

On his day off yesterday and if he has gotten used to life in the ‘bubble’:
"Well, I’m getting used to [the bubble]. It looks like national team training camp with just a little bit more comfort, so it’s pretty cool honestly. I’m not struggling at all. The only thing of course that I’m missing is my wife at home, but besides that I think all European players are used to it, so it’s not that difficult. What I did yesterday is, thanks to JJ (Redick), they stood me up. I woke up very early in the morning because we were supposed to go play golf, but he texted me that he didn’t want to go anymore, but I still set the alarm very early. So I woke up very early with nothing to do. I read a book, went to the pool, had some therapy, and last night we had a team dinner to celebrate D-Fav’s (Derrick Favors) birthday. It was something very easy. Nothing. I just hung out with my teammates and I was on the phone with my wife. That was basically my day off yesterday.”

On if he brought anything special into the bubble and if he has decided what he will put on the back of his jersey:
"What I brought, it was my espresso machine and I really like a barista espresso machine with my coffee and everything because…I like the United States of America, but the coffee here kind of sucks. On my jersey I will have ‘Equality’ in Italian, so ‘Uguaglianza’, like (Marco Belinelli). But it was not done on purpose, it was by coincidence.”

On if there is any comparison in his career to starting the season 6-22 and still having the chance to make the playoffs:
"Yeah. It’s a part of the job to have ups and downs. Tough start, but I think we’ve done a very good job during the season. Unfortunately because of the virus situation we had to stop, but I think we can pick up from where we left, so I think we can turn around this season. We have a good schedule. We have eight games to try to get to the playoffs or at least to the play-in tournament. It happens in sports and I think we have all the qualities to do something good.”

On how he can help his team as a far as making the playoffs and having experience in big situations:
"I think I just need to try to do what I do on the court, try to give some positive energy outside. Now it’s just one week and so everything is easy. It’s going to be tougher during the fourth or the fifth week, so I think we just need to stick together. As I told you, I’m used to this situation. In national teams you’d stay away from your family for months, so I know what it takes, and if I can I’ll try to do my best to help the team.”

On how important the four-game road trip during Christmas was in terms of turning the season around:
"I don’t want to give a lot of pressure on one guy, but I think D-Fav (Derrick Favors) was healthy finally, and he’s our anchor on defense and on offense. I think he’s the one who turned around everything. Then of course, BI (Brandon Ingram), Lonzo (Ball), JJ (Redick), Jrue (Holiday), everybody stepped up, and then of course Z (Zion Williamson) came back, but I think D-Fav was our key.”

On how the Pelicans are getting better defensively:
"As I said before, I think we clicked on the Christmas trip when D-Fav came back because he’s probably the big guy with more experience. But then for sure, you win a couple of games and it gives you a little bit of confidence, a little bit of trust, and then everything comes a little bit easier, so I think it’s a combination of things. One more time, I really think D-Fav is our key, our anchor.”

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