We have never seen such a big hype for a player since LeBron James before Zion Williamson landed in the NBA. With no risk to be wrong I would say that those expectations were justified and as soon as we were able to see Zion in action we knew that he had the potential to dominate the league.
Drafted as the first pick back in 2019 by the New Orleans Pelicans, Zion combined a great physical shape with a good domain of the game. A meniscus tear in his right knee made him to miss almost his entire rookie season and his coached bet on him in the bubble to dose his playing time in order to protect his health. Despite everything, 22.5 points (58,3% TC), 6.3 rebounds and 2.1 assists in 24 games.
He was able to be more consistent in his second year in the NBA, as he played 61 games and improved his numbers. One of his best abilities is his accuracy on field goals shooting, as he records a 61,1% with an average of 27 points. The Pelicans player fractured the fifth metatarsal on his right foot and he had to go through surgery. This is when problems started off.
No returning date:
Even though the franchise from New Orleans were optimistic with Zion’s recovery, the reality is that his return to the court has been postponed and is currently an unknown. The last news assert that he would need another surgery on his right foot.
Throughout all this time, there are many people who are accusing Zion of lack of discipline and disinterest for his team. The issues with his weight and his apathy have been recurrent since he made his debut in the league and the situation is unstable enough for the Pelicans to not offer him the maximum contract.
The last one to talk about him has been his old teammate J. J. Redick, who has described Zion as a taken off player from the team at the First Take program.
Change of course:
The New Orleans Pelicans keep working on the restructuring of the team. They acquired CJ McCollum from the Blazers in the last transfer market in order to strengthen a team that already has players such as Brandon Ingram, Valanciunas or Devonte Graham in their roster.
McCollum recently confirmed on TNT that he had not spoken to Zion since he got to New Orleans, but later on Malika Andrews said on ESPN that Williamson called his new teammate as soon as his statement was released so there would not be any misunderstandings.
The franchise’s bet seems to be to prove that they are serious on building a solid team, even though they are not within the Playoffs spots at the moment. They have a young roster awaiting for victories to come. In case the franchise runs out of patience and decide not to extend Zion’s contract, they would still keep a decent team to maintain their growth.
All the critics seem to head to the same place. This fact added to the rumors from some family members that say that he would love to play for the Knicks hinder the relationship with the Pelicans. Whenever Zion gets to play again, he might find himself in a competitive team where he can really show off his talent. Or maybe it might be too late for him.
Translated by Guillermo Bermejo.
Main image: New Orleans Pelicans website.