Pelicans Head Coach Willie Green
On the rookies stepping up tonight and throughout the season:
"Terrific. Couldn't ask for a better effort. Like you said, we had three rookies on the floor, and all of them just battled and they'retough. They know how to play. They play together. They're not afraid of the moment, and like I said, we're all extremely proudof our guys. We just stuck together all season. That was the key. You know no matter what our record was, we came in andjust worked. It's easy to do when you have high character people in the organization, and I'm extremely blessed and grateful tohave just good people around us that are all about the right things."
On being optimistic for the future:
"Very optimistic. I said it before, our future is bright. We'll soak this up, a number of things. The playoff experience was great forus, elimination games, the play-in experience leading up to that and then this loss. We feel it, so like I told our guys in thelocker room, I will work this summer. It's going to determine what happens next season, and we'll be back in the gym getting it in, getting ready"
Pelicans Forward Herbert Jones
On this team’s progress this year:
"Extremely far. I feel like we exceeded expectations that a lot of people had on us. But I felt like we were right where we wanted to be. [We] just came up a little short. I’m so proud of the guys and what we did this year despite everything that has happened this year dealing with COVID. I’m just super proud of the guys."
On how the team stayed together despite struggles:
“I think that was just a testament to showing up everyday and wanting to get better regardless of how the previous day went or what was going on. We all just showed up and continued to put in the work. I feel like when you are putting that amount of work with a group of guys each and every day, it’s only right for everybody to be as close as we were.”
Pelicans Guard CJ McCollum
On the future of the Pelicans and what kind of culture they’re building:
“The future is very bright. I’m thankful to be here; they welcomed me with open arms. I think we hit the ground running. There were some bumps along the way. I got COVID. We had some injuries, things of that nature. But I think we learned a lot about ourselves. I learned a lot about this team, this city, this organization. We have all world players coming back next season . . . and [we’ll] hit the ground running. I can assure you we won’t start off what we started off last year just based on experience, based on understanding, based on preparation. I’m excited to go through a full training camp and to be with the team from the beginning as opposed to coming in on the fly. I’m excited about the future and to get back to work.”
On Jose Alvarado’s impact this series:
“I thought he changed the game. He came in and played aggressive. He’s fearless; he showed that New York mentality. It’s the saying heart over height. It doesn’t really matter how tall you are, it matters how smart you are and how hungry you are and how hard you play. He checks the boxes with his integrity, how he works everyday whether he’s playing or not, he’s a good teammate, and he wants to compete. That’s what important. You’re going to win games, and you’re going to lose games. But you need to compete at the end of the day. I think he’s done that consistently his entire life. That’s why he’s here on draft day, signing a big contract, getting playoff minutes, getting tough assignments, having to guard hall of famer Chris Paul, and being fearless offensively (taking shots, making shots, and getting to the cup). Doing all of those little things. That’s why he has been successful, and that’s why he’ll continue to be successful.”