When you think about Walt Disney World Resort, you typically imagine family vacations, however, the New Orleans Pelicans are getting to work. Yep, the “most magical place on earth” is where the Crescent City’s NBA franchise is getting ready to resume their 2019-20 season.
Pelicans Head Coach Alvin Gentry says his team reported to the preverbal NBA Bubble in good condition and that his team is focused on having success in striving for a playoff berth. “They came back from a conditioning standpoint good. They’ll have to get their basketball legs underneath them, but we feel good,” Gentry said.
The Pelicans announced Thursday that rookie forward Zion Williamson left the NBA bubble due to an urgent family medical matter and that he intends to rejoin his team at a later date. Williamson, will have to quarantine upon his return for a period of four to ten days, depending upon how long he’s outside the bubble. Asked about Zion’s conditioning, Gentry stated, “He’s spent a lot of time working out and made some good strides in shooting and came back in good shape.”
One of the areas that Gentry and the Pelicans need to focus on is the defensive side. One of the most successful units on the floor for Gentry this season has been Jrue Holliday, Lonzo Ball, Derrick Favors, Brandon Ingram and Zion Williamson. That unit on the floor outscored their opponents by an average of 26.3 points per 100 possessions. “That unit was very solid for us defensively. If we are going to be successful here, it’s going to be because of our defense. We will be able to score, but have to do a better job on dribble penetration and keeping our opponent off the offensive boards. The practices we’ve had have been good and focused defensively,” Gentry said.
Speaking about living life in the bubble and what he’s been doing with his extra time, Gentry admits, “this has been an amazing safe place to go. We all have wristbands with GPS, and we have to check our temperatures and we’re checking oxygen levels and it all goes into an app on our phones. I’ve got a few books to catch up on some reading and go to the golf course. We have plenty of time on our hands and this is a good time to read some things that you’ve been wanting to.”
Alvin Gentry and the Pelicans resume the season with their first game in the NBA Bubble at Walt Disney World Resort on Thursday, July 30, versus the Utah Jazz at 5:30 p.m. Central Time.