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Transcript: Pelicans forward Darius Miller on the New Orleans Pelicans Podcast presented by SeatGeek – May 8, 2020

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Pelicans Forward Darius Miller on the Pelicans Podcast, presented by SeatGeek
May 8, 2020

On how he and his family are doing:
Darius Miller: “We’re doing really, really well. Blessed, just trying to stay out of the way.”

On what he and his family members are doing to keep busy:
Darius Miller: “I mean, you pretty much know that we’re trying to entertain [our kids] the whole day. We’re doing like a lot of home school stuff and trying to keep them active as much as possible, in the backyard, and just around our neighborhood.”

On how his Achilles tendon is feeling during the rehab process:
Darius Miller: “Really, really good. I’ve been trying to stay on top of it as much as possible. Obviously, I don’t have the same resources I would if I could get into the facilities, but, we’re doing the best we can with what we got, and it’s been fun to be outside and train outside and get to like parks and just running around the neighborhood and stuff. It’s been a lot of fun.”

On what are the biggest challenges of not being able to go to the facilities to rehab during these times:
Darius Miller: “I think the main thing I’m missing is not being able to be on a basketball court. Testing out movements, reacting to people as far as like defensively and stuff like that. I haven’t gotten a chance to do that yet, and I think that’s the next part to my rehab. So, I’ll have to wait until I’m able to go against other players and get back into a facility on a court to see how that feels.”

On what the rehab process is like right now:
Darius Miller: “I’m still strengthening the Achilles. Doing a lot of that and just trying to get my body in great shape really, that’s about it at this point. Trying to get my strength back, my movement back, and getting into good shape.”

On if his rehab process is still on schedule:
Darius Miller: “I would say we are (on schedule). Like I said, I can’t really tell without…not being able to go against other players, go against some of the coaches and do some reaction stuff and see how it feels on the court. But, it feels great with all the stuff that I’m able to do out here at the park.”

On how he is keeping in communication with the Pelicans training staff and if he’s able to get evaluated over a video conference call:
Darius Miller: “Yeah, I pretty much talk to them every day. But, I think in order for me to get back [to] playing, I just have to see how it feels on the court, honestly. See how it feels to do certain basketball movements that I can’t really do at the park or just on the street outside. I can’t really see how it feels and gauge it.”

On how is the injury has affected him mentally:
Darius Miller: “I was a little disappointed at the beginning. It was frustrating, but I mean, I tried to do the best I could with taking advantage of other opportunities off the court during the time. So, it worked out in the end, but it was definitely frustrating not being able to play, especially with this young group, really exciting group. I was really looking forward to it, but it worked out pretty well in the end.”

On if he was able to build relationships with his teammates despite being injured during the season:
Darius Miller: “Oh, definitely. I was still, like you said, pretty much around every day. So, I built a pretty good relationship with almost everybody on the team. We have a great group of guys like I said earlier, really exciting group of guys, and I was really missing being out on the court and trying to help those guys this year.”

On if he talked to Zion Williamson and if they helped each other through their separate rehab process:
Darius Miller: “Yeah. Like you said, we were around each other a lot, just being with the trainers. So, we would talk about it and try to keep each other level headed through the times, really, but, I mean, that was something that the whole team and everybody in the facility was trying to do with both of us, honestly.”

On how he would describe the 2019-20 Pelicans season thus far:
Darius Miller: “I think it was a really, really good season. There was a lot of new faces at the beginning. We had to, like you said, get rolling and then with injuries on top of that, that was very difficult, but I feel like we got rolling right at the right time and hopefully we can pick the season back up and continue to play, because I think it would be exciting to watch. I really enjoyed watching the guys this year. Like I said, it’s a really exciting group of players, really talented, and I think we’ve had a great year so far.”

On what intrigues you the most about the young core on this Pelicans roster:
Darius Miller: “I feel like we have one of the best young cores in the league, honestly. The depth that we have, the chemistry that we have, and I think the competitiveness that we have, those guys are really good, they’re only going to continue to get better. So, if this core is able to stay together for the next couple of years, I think that it will be really exciting to watch and I think they’ll be able to surprise a lot of people.”

On how important it is to build a culture within an NBA locker room:
Darius Miller: “That’s very important, very important. Like you said, Griff (David Griffin) did a great job of getting great guys on the team and everybody is really focused on winning. I think that’s one thing that really kept us together during the rough patches that we had with injuries and just learning each other as a team, and with the right attitudes and with the right focus every single day these guys came in and I think everything took care of itself, and I think that’s why we got rolling there towards the end.”

On how much the roster has changed from Kentucky alumni to Duke alumni:
Darius Miller: “There was a little bit. Every time Kentucky lost I heard about it. That’s a little bit different than it was in the past years. They kicked all of the Kentucky guys out, but I’m not mad at it, I still rep Kentucky every chance that I get, and I like to talk a lot of junk to them, so it’s a lot of fun, it’s a great atmosphere.”

On what is the next step in the rehab process:
Darius Miller: “I honestly don’t know the answer to when I can be cleared, but the next step for me is just to continue to strengthen [the Achilles], workout as much as possible until the facilities open and then hopefully I can get in the gym and test it out during some basketball [activities]. That would just be the next thing.”

On how if watching “The Last Dance” has made him think about how much the NBA game has changed since then:
Darius Miller: “Definitely. I mean, it’s a totally different game honestly, and it’s just amazing to see the footage and go back and see someone like Mike (Michael Jordan), see Scottie (Pippen) and those guys, (Dennis) Rodman, and just to get the behind-the-scenes look at it and compared to what we go through to what they had to go through. I mean, those guys and the guys before them paved the way, so, it’s really good seeing that, and I really appreciate just getting the footage and seeing how they lived on a daily basis, seeing the things they had to navigate through. I’m really enjoying the documentary.”

On if he thinks the mentality of a player can change after watching “The Last Dance” documentary:
Darius Miller: “Yeah, for the ones that want to be great. That’s a very different mindset that you have to have to be a guy like (Michael) Jordan. But I think it’s great for the young guys and even the older guys, I mean I remember Jordan but just seeing it again reminds you of how great a player he was. Like the difference between the games and everything like that. I definitely think it’s great for young players to be watching this right now – and older players too.”

On what he has learned from watching “The Last Dance” documentary:
Darius Miller: “There’s so much you forget, so much stuff and then you’re just reminded when you see it again. The documentary is really set up well. I’m just really enjoying watching it.”

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