Saturday, July 13, 2013

Jrue Holiday talks to the media in NOLA

Jrue takes his talents to NOLA
Opening Comments

Dell Demps: “First of all, I want to say thank you guys for coming tonight and being patient. Today is a big day for the Pelicans. The trade is official. Jrue Holliday is a New Orleans Pelican and we’re very excited. Currently, Coach (Monty) Williams couldn’t be here. He’s in Las Vegas with the Summer League team, but he’s just thrilled. He’s sending me these texts and telling me about all these plays he’s drawing up. We’re just thrilled to have Jrue Holliday as a part of our organization. We had the opportunity to acquire him and we didn’t hesitate. We did what we had to do to make sure we could bring him here and we’re just excited. We think we have a good, young core and we think Jrue will be our point guard. As I’ve said before, this is a young group that is veterans. Our core group is going into their fifth and sixth years in the NBA. You add Anthony Davis to that, Al-Farouq Aminu coming back, and the additions we just signed in Anthony Morrow and Greg Stiemsma. We think we have some exciting times ahead. We also know we have some hard work ahead because it is going to take some time for these guys to mesh and understand each other, but we feel good about the prospects of watching them grow. I feel like I’ve talked enough, so I’d like to introduce to the New Orleans community and you guys today, Mr. Jrue Holliday.”

Jrue Holliday:  “I just want to say that I’m excited to be here. Again, sorry for the delay and thank you all for being here. It’s been a long day, but I’m excited to be here. The coaching staff, the front office, the players and even New Orleans itself, I’m really excited to be a part of this and push forward with the core group of guys we have. I think we’re really talented and we will be really good.”

Q:  How do you feel about playing with new acquisition Tyreke Evans?

Jrue:  “I’m real excited. Growing up, most of the time I battled against him, but playing alongside him and knowing how tough he is mentally and obviously physically (is exciting). He’s got a big wide frame. Playing with him I know is going to be really fun.

Q:  How do you feel about playing in this city, and handling the fans in this city?

Jrue:  “I think I’ve been playing in one of the toughest markets with one of the toughest fan bases (in Philadelphia), and I was really successful there. It was obviously new for me and obviously coming here is new, but again when you sit back and think about the food, the culture, having family here, being able to play with a core group of guys we have here and the coaching staff, it’s only good things here. I’m really excited to be here. I mean, I came back early from my honeymoon to be here and I thank my wife for letting me do that. I’m just glad we are pushing forward.”

Q:  Would you say this is the best time of your life, starting a new life with your marriage and a new team?

Jrue:  “As of right now, good things are happening. I just got married. As you said, new things are beginning. I’m really excited to come down here for the first time and meet everybody and see the new practice facility they are about to have. I guess you could say it’s a really good time for me.”

Q:  How did you first learn of the trade and what was your initial reaction?

Jrue:  “Me and my agent talk. Obviously, there were a lot of things going on at the time, not about New Orleans though. (Philadelphia General Manager) Sam Hinkie called me. After New Orleans drafted the rookie (Nerlens Noel), I got the call saying I was traded. The initial hit was ‘wow.’ Once you start thinking about it though, back then you had Ryan Anderson, Jason Smith, Robin Lopez, and Eric Gordon. I was like ‘dang, we’re actually going to be really good.’ So, obviously I think the initial hit is kind of like wow, but once you think about it I’m actually on the up and up.” 

Q: Have you talked to Tyreke Evans since the trade?
Jrue: “I haven’t talked to Tyreke.  A day after (the trade) I was in China, I was there until the third (of July), then I got married, and then I was in Cancun. I’m not really sure I talked to anybody.  I talked to Monty (Williams) just a text telling me congratulations and welcome to the team.  Other than that, I have kind of been on the move.  Now though, I have some time to settle down and get used to all of this.”
Q: What helped you raise your game to an All-Star level last year?
Jrue: “I honestly think it was just me trying to listen to my coaches, me trying to become a better leader and a better player, just fitting in to my team better.  I think I did what my team needed me to do, even though we didn’t make the playoffs and accomplish what we wanted to, but I felt like me getting better every single year is something I wanted to do.  I feel like since my rookie year, I have done that.”
Q: Andre Iguodala called you the best on the ball defender in the NBA, what does that mean to you and mean to your team?
Jrue: “For one, that means a lot. Especially coming from Andre (Iguodala).  My rookie year, I looked up to Andre to see what he’d done.  Him guarding Kobe (Bryant) and LeBron (James), guarding all the best guys.  It means a lot, especially when you have a packed point guard conference like the Western Conference you have to bring it every single night or you’re going to get embarrassed.  Defense is obviously what wins championships.  Offense, yeah people can score and do all that, but especially in a league like this it’s tough to stop guys and I think it’s a matter of effort and wanting to be a really good defender.”
Q: Did you envision these pieces lining up this way on draft night?
Dell: “The stars had lined up, and we feel really good about the core of guys we have now.  We feel like we also know that there’s work ahead.  On paper it looks good right now, but we also know that the Western Conference is loaded.  As we were doing these things, we saw the bar keep rising not only in the west, but even in our division.  It’s exciting, I can’t wait to get the guys here for practice to start and for us to start building something.  We feel like we have that opportunity to start building something.”
Q: Did Nerlens Noel falling to the Pelicans in the draft enable the trade for Jrue Holiday?
Dell: “I don’t like to get in to trade discussions because I don’t think it’s fair to both teams and all the parties involved.  However, our intent was to get Jrue and we are really happy about that.  I’m just thrilled right now.  The trade became official tonight and we just now are able to talk about it.  We weren’t able to have many conversations with Jrue until today.  This is actually our first time talking, and I am just thrilled to have him here.”
Q: Did you anticipate the draft shaping up the way it did?
Dell: “Yeah, I had a little idea, I had an indication.  I was on the phone with Monty (Williams), and you know Monty is great, but he texted me about 40 times in a two hour period and we were going back and forth.  We are both pretty excited about the prospect of things moving forward.”
Q: Are you excited to play with Tyreke Evans and Eric Gordon?
Jrue: “Again, you have two guards who are obviously very, very good scorers.  Hoenstly, I feel like I’ve just got to be able to get them the ball, get them the ball where they like to get it, where they like to score and where they like to shoot.  Playing with Tyreke (Evans) it’s been easy ever since we were younger, the chemistry has always been there.  Eric Gordon, seeing him play last year when I was with the (USA) select team and seeing him go up against the Olympians and the way he just really went at them, it’s just really exciting for me.  Playing against him for the last three years now, he was always one of those people I just really wanted to play with.”

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