New Orleans Pelicans v Milwaukee Bucks
Orlando, FL - JULY 27: Josh Hart #3 of the New Orleans Pelicans shoots the ball during the game against the Milwaukee Bucks during a scrimmage on July 27, 2020 at The Arena at ESPN Wide World of Sports in Orlando, Florida.
Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images

Transcript: Pelicans guard Josh Hart media availability - July 28, 2020

Josh Hart Media Availability – July 28, 2020

On the defensive strides the Pelicans have been able to make in the three scrimmage games:
"We’ve been playing well defensively. We’ve just got to make sure we continue to play without fouling. I think yesterday we gave up like 38, high thirties free throws, so that’s something we’ve got to cut down on. Just make sure we finish plays, rebounding the ball. I think that’s the biggest thing, but I think for the most part we’ve been good except for a couple of lapses in some of those games. It’s trending upwards, and that’s what we want to do.”

On Fred Vinson handling the defensive coaching while Jeff Bzdelik is not in Orlando:
"There’s two sides of it. Obviously it’s different just because you’ve been working with Jeff for the whole year. Me and Jeff, we’ve got a good relationship. We always butt heads on the court and stuff like that, but it was always good to have him out there and him listening to how we want to adjust. Now with Fred there, it’s kind of refreshing because you have a new voice and someone new that’s speaking up and talking about some of those principles. So that’s good. Then just the ability for him just to listen to us and make adjustments on the fly, that’s been a big positive. So we’re excited, we’re confident in him going into these seeding games to make this playoff push. Obviously we wish Jeff was here and wish him the best health, but we’re ready and we’re confident with (Fred).”

On having Zion Williamson back at practice:
"It’s always good. When someone is away for four, five, six days – when they come back, it’s always refreshing to see their face, to get energy from them. Like you said, he didn’t participate in five-on-five but his presence was there. We’re looking forward to him getting out there tomorrow or Thursday or whatever it is. But it’s always good to see someone – knowing that they battled with some off the court stuff – to see them coming back, smiling and being professional.”

On if the Pelicans feel additional pressure in the seeding games, knowing that they have a limited time to fight for a playoff berth:
"That’s just how it is, honestly. You’ve got to take every game like it’s a playoff game. We can’t start slow out the gate. We’ve just got to go 110% every game. I wouldn’t say it’s adversity, I wouldn’t say it’s pressure, it’s just going out there and playing basketball. If we do that and play our game and play the right way, it’s going to be a positive outcome for us. We’re just focused on taking each game by game, day by day, and playing the best basketball that we can as a team. We know if we do that, then we’ll be in a good spot at the end.”

On if he feels like the teams who embrace the bubble scenario the most will be able have the most success in this environment:
"It’s always kind of funny because our longest time – we’ll have a West coast swing or something like that, or East coast, where it’s ten to twelve, fourteen days. After that, you’re like, ‘Alright man.’ When you get back, the next day is a day off and you need to get away from everybody. Unfortunately you can’t do that here, but one of the positives about this team is we’re so close-knit. Everyone wants each other to be successful. We bond off the court, and I think that really translates to our success on the court. So that’s a good thing. There’s no drama within our team. No one doesn’t like each other or anything like that. So that’s one thing that is positive, and I think that’s definitely going to work to our advantage just because it’s always love with all of us. We just go out there and play fun, have fun around each other, and then just kick it off the court. So I think we’ll definitely be in a good position in terms of that camaraderie.”

On if he noticed the Pelicans’ camaraderie as soon as he got to New Orleans:
"I think it was like our open scrimmage. I think I turned to Jrue Holiday and I was like, ‘Dang, y’all really genuinely like each other. Y’all really have fun with each other on and off the court.’ That’s kind of when I really started seeing just the relationships that they had off the court, and I think that’s more important than anything else because when you have that relationship off the court, that builds trust on the court. I kind of noticed it right before the start of the season, and it’s been an amazing seven, eight, nine months just because there is no drama. Everyone loves each other, everyone wants each other to be successful more than themselves. When you have that kind of culture, that breeds success and that breeds winning, and I think that’s the position that this franchise is going in and it’s just refreshing and amazing to see.”


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