New Orleans Pelicans Executive Vice President of Basketball Operations
No. 1 Overall Pick
Winning Combination: 7-4-12-13
The first three questions below are from ESPN’s interview with Griffin during its NBA Draft Lottery results show.
Q: You look pretty happy. I see you’re holding something. Just walk me through if this is a good-luck charm.
Griffin: We did a contest in New Orleans. One of our ticket holders, Connie Halphen, gave us this. This is her lucky angel. It’s a 56-year-old wooden angel. And when Cleveland won in 2014, I had my grandmother’s angel on my shoulder. Connie was our angel here today.
Q: Congratulations to you, too, Connie. What would you say having the first pick for the first time since 2012 means for this organization?
Griffin: I think it’s just another positive event for us in what’s going to be we hope several that we stack together. I think Mrs. [Gayle] Benson and her ownership group have invested in this very heavily. My presence there and my desire to be there had everything to do with this community. So I’m really excited for our fan base. We’ve got a lot of work to do, but this is a good start.
Q: When I say Zion, you say what?
Griffin: We have a lot of work to do. This is a good start.
Below are questions from Griffin’s media availability after ESPN’s telecast.
Q: What are the nerves like when it’s down to 1 or 2?
Griffin: I wasn’t good enough at math to figure out when eight went that that meant that we weren’t eight — that we moved up. So when I heard, I believe Rachel [Nichols] said that, it means I knew that much. But again, it’s just an incredible blessing for our organization. Mrs. Benson and our ownership group have done a remarkable job of just investing in the vision we have. And this will certainly jump-start that process.
Q: Did you workshop the potential of this possibly happening? Or are these new, fresh thoughts of “Hey we have the number one pick” that pop up in your head?
Griffin: It’s funny, actually. We talked about it in the GM meeting today. I told some people that I’m friendly with that I’ve already seen it, we’re getting 2. So if Cleveland could get 1, I would have been OK. If Nick [Gilbert] could have pulled 1, I would have been fine. But I think ultimately we’ve talked about what it would look like for our team: If we were 1, if we 2 two, etc. But the reality is when your odds are what they were, you don’t spend a great deal of time focusing on things you don’t control. And we’re never going to do that organizationally either. So we just try to sort of model what we believe in, which is just focus on the things you can control day to day.
Q: I know there are multiple prospects you’ll be looking at with the first pick. But specifically speaking about Zion — he’s somebody who, with his versatility on both ends of the floor, seems to be tailor-made for the league today. I’m just wondering if could you speak on his overall type of skill set in today’s up-tempo position-less league.
Griffin: Yeah, I mean again, I said earlier I don’t want to talk a whole lot of specifics about individual players, but I look at this as a situation where he is a wholly and unique talent. And we feel what we’re going to build is going to be wholly and unique as well. Hopefully all of this sort of comes to a place where we all feel like we’re meant to be together. This is about fit as much as anything else. Certainly the elite talent and the special characteristics are there, but most important to us are special human beings. I think this draft was very deep in that area as well. I think every subsequent generational kid is growing more mindful of the fact that you’ve got to be a total person and this draft has those.
Q: Now that you have this pick in the bag, are you looking forward to that next conversation with Rich Paul, with Anthony Davis’ people?
Griffin: No more so than before. We have reason to believe that’s something that is attractive. And if I’m Anthony Davis, I’m skeptical obviously. He’s wanted to win this whole time and he felt compelled to try to win elsewhere. I think if you look at the totality of where this organization is and where we’re going, we feel very strongly that we’re going be the environment he wants to be part of. And if we’re not, that’s fine; we can deal with it from there. But I’m looking at this believing that there’s no reason he wouldn’t want to win with us, because that’s what we do. It’s who we are. And I think culturally we’re about all the same things.