David Griffin promised a new era for Pelicans; He's already delivering

A small move signaled a big philosophical change

Seth Dunlap
April 30, 2019 - 7:35 pm

When David Griffin was introduced as the new Pelicans President of Basketball Operations on April 17 he brought with him the promise of a new era of professional basketball in New Orleans.  With the backing of a increasingly committed owner, Gayle Benson, Griffin expansively laid out his plan to remake the organization in his vision.   

Many fans remained skeptical that this organization, viewed as an afterthought in the city for most of its existence, would truly be able to morph into one that could legitimately compete for NBA titles.  If the first few weeks of the Griffin Era are any indication, he's ready to deliver on those promises.  He has aggressively pursued some of the best front office talent in the league, attempting to lure them to New Orleans.  That was always going to be a daunting task, something make more evident by his failure to land Clippers assistant GM Trent Redden.  But his persistence is beginning to pay off.

Griffin finalized a deal to bring Aaron Nelson in as the new Pelicans' head athletic trainer.  Nelson had been holding that role in Phoenix since 1993, working with Griffin in the Suns organization from then until 2010.  Nelson and his staff in Phoenix were widely regarded as an industry leaders in advanced training techniques, and even had an ESPN "30 for 30" profiling their work.

If you're wondering why the hiring of an trainer would be cause for such celebration, consider that the Pelicans have dealt with an incredible string of injury problems for the past decade.  Anthony Davis became known for his penchant for missing time nearly as much as his on-court prowess.  How many losing seasons did the organization and fans blame on not having enough players healthy?  Those problems quickly became fodder for jokes about just how incompetent the Pelicans were at keeping their players healthy.

Nelson won't fix that overnight, and it would be wholly unfair to blame all of the injury problems on the previous staff.  Still, Griffin could have looked past this issue and most people wouldn't have noticed.  Instead, he decided to make a real effort to bring in what he believes is the best medical professional in the league, making good on his promise to do exactly that. 

Griffin and the franchise, are deciding to overhaul nearly every aspect of their operation.  That only bodes well for the Pelicans future.

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