The New Orleans Pelicans could be back to exercising caution with Zion Williamson if they are playing basketball again any time in the near future.
Speaking during a conference call with the media this week, Pelicans coach Alvin Gentry hinted at the possibility of a minutes restriction for the No. 1 overall pick if the team’s season resumes.
“We’ll have those conversations,” said Gentry, per NBA.com. “Obviously, his health will be the number one priority, but the restriction was really off after his first 5-6 games. So, he was playing the minutes that he would normally play, considering with any situation really. But, it will be something that we talk about when we do resume and as far as how it looks for Zion from a minute standpoint, and we’ll do that really with some of the other players.
“This is unprecedented, really,” Gentry added. “You play in a basketball game, you play 60 games, then all of a sudden the season ends, then now it’s going to start back up. So, this is going to be something that is different for every single player that has ever played in the NBA or is playing in the NBA now.”
Williamson, 19, missed the first several months of the season with a meniscus tear and did have a moderate minutes restriction in place upon his initial return. In his 19 total games before play was suspended though, Williamson averaged a robust 23.6 points and 6.8 rebounds in 29.7 minutes per game.
At 28-36, the Pelicans were out of the playoffs, so there is no guarantee their season continues, even if the 2019-20 campaign does pick up again. Should New Orleans be back in action however, limiting Williamson’s playing time makes sense, despite that previously being unpopular with the team’s fans.