Zion Williamson is a very big guy. In fact, he may be even bigger than we think he is.
In Monday’s episode of “The Bill Simmons Podcast,” Bill Simmons and guest Ryen Russillo were discussing the advantages a one-game NBA playoff could offer, including letting teams like the New Orleans Pelicans compete with the Los Angeles Lakers due to Zion Williamson’s talent. It was during this discussion that Simmons dropped a fun tidbit about Williamson.
“I heard from a reliable source that he is over 300 pounds,” Simmons said of Williamson.
Williamson is officially listed at 284 pounds. That’s not abnormal for a center, but Williamson is listed at 6-foot-6. Even his listed weight would be considered pretty heavy, much less the rumored 300-pound mark.
There were rumors that Nike wanted Williamson to drop some weight back around the start of the season. Considering Zion has been dominant since getting on the court, it’s probably not necessary for his play, but there will be worries about his long-term health as long as he’s hovering anywhere close to the 300-pound mark.
New team, same old high-five struggles.
Zion Williamson left teammate Josh Hart waiting for a high-five in what was a seemingly awkward sequence during the New Orleans Pelicans’ game against the Oklahoma City Thunder on Thursday.
During the first quarter the game, Pelicans players were walking towards the bench for a stoppage in play. Hart had his hand up looking for a high-five from Williamson but got snubbed.
The saga continues as Zion leaves Josh Hart hanging pic.twitter.com/LzMZx6TWwF
— The Render (@TheRenderNBA2) February 14, 2020
Some might question why Williamson was snubbing his teammate, but this is part of a running joke.
Hart’s high-five issues went back to the guard’s days with the Lakers:
— Silver Screen & Roll (@LakersSBN) December 12, 2018
Williamson also snubbed Hart in October:
Can @JoshHart get a high five?!?!
— New Orleans Pelicans (@PelicansNBA) October 12, 2019
The saga continues.
New Orleans Pelicans fans aren’t happy with the restrictions being placed on Zion Williamson as he eases into NBA action for the first time, but coach Alvin Gentry won’t be changing his mind because of fan protests.
Williamson played 21 minutes in Friday night’s game, scoring 15 points and adding six rebounds, but sat on the bench at the end of it as the Pelicans lost to Denver. That prompted “we want Zion” chants from the home crowd in New Orleans, but Gentry was unmoved.
“It’s the way we’ve decided, it’s best for him right now and that’s what we’re going to stick to,” Gentry said, via Andrew Lopez of ESPN. “I know everybody gets real excited, and I hear every night that I’m the dumbest coach in the world about why would I take the guy out in the game of the last 5 minutes or 6 minutes? So I’ll live with that knowing that we’re doing the right thing.”
Williamson’s debut was incredibly exciting and promising, and it’s easy to understand why fans want to see more. However, he had knee surgery in October, and the last thing the Pelicans want to do is risk his future by overworking him now.
They are going to love Zion Williamson in New Orleans — and throughout the NBA.
Williamson made his long-awaited NBA debut on Wednesday night to great fanfare. Though he was on a strict minutes restriction from the Pelicans, he made a huge impact.
Williamson played the first four minutes or so to start each of the three quarters and had just five points to that point. In the fourth quarter though, Williamson caught fire and was so good the Pelicans let him play about seven minutes.
Williamson made four straight 3-pointers in one stretch and accounted for 17 straight points. He also assisted on four points before scoring 17 in a row, meaning he had his hand in 21 straight New Orleans points.
Zion went off for 22 PTS and went 4/4 from 3PT in 18 minutes in his NBA debut pic.twitter.com/j1e5SgooGH
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) January 23, 2020
No surprise, the fans loved it and gave Zion “MVP” chants.
— Brooks Kubena (@BKubena) January 23, 2020
The Pelicans lost to the San Antonio Spurs 121-117, but you have to wonder how much different things would have been had Zion been allowed to play more. He finished with 22 points, seven rebounds and three assists in 18 minutes. He made four threes in his NBA debut after going his entire Duke career without making that many in a game.
NBA fans will not have to wait much longer to see Zion Williamson make his pro debut, as the New Orleans Pelicans have finally placed a timetable on the No. 1 overall pick’s return from a knee injury.
Pelicans executive vice president of basketball operations David Griffin said Wednesday that the plan is for Williamson to make his debut on Jan. 22 against the San Antonio Spurs, which is a home game.
Jan. 22 against San Antonio is the target for Zion Williamson's NBA debut says Pelicans EVP of basketball operations David Griffin, who is speaking live to reporters now
— Marc Stein (@TheSteinLine) January 15, 2020
Williamson has already missed exactly half of his rookie season, as the Pelicans have played 41 games. They are 15-26 and could use a boost if they want to climb into the playoff picture, but they are still playing it safe with Williamson and will likely have him on a minutes restriction when he returns.
The Pelicans have been going to great lengths in an attempt to put Williamson in a position where his knee issues won’t linger. He was initially expected to miss 6-8 weeks after undergoing arthroscopic surgery on his knee in October, but he has already surpassed that time frame. Fans in New Orleans are more than ready to see what the former Duke star can do.
Zion Williamson gave a young New Orleans Pelicans fan a cool souvenir on Saturday.
Williamson went through a workout prior to the team’s game on Saturday against the Indiana Pacers, and punctuated things with a dunk:
— New Orleans Pelicans (@PelicansNBA) December 28, 2019
After he finished his workout, he signed shoes for a young fan:
Zion then made a special memory for a kid pic.twitter.com/GL0pqtKcCQ
— Scott Agness (@ScottAgness) December 28, 2019
The deal included a swap of shoes that was said to have left the fan shoeless:
Zion walked off the court, signed autographs and then traded shoes with a kid.
Zion gave him one of his shoes and then took one of the kids as a part of the deal.
Kid doesn’t have shoes to go home with… but I think he’s okay with that. pic.twitter.com/ULrsPJmuvE
— Andrew Lopez (@_Andrew_Lopez) December 28, 2019
That’s probably a deal anyone would accept.
Williamson, the No. 1 draft pick, has not played since injuring his knee before the season. The Pelicans are taking their time bringing him back and reportedly have even been teaching him to run and walk differently.
Zion Williamson’s return from a knee injury is taking longer than expected, and that’s because the New Orleans Pelicans reportedly are working hard to makeover the No. 1 pick in many ways.
During the first quarter of Wednesday’s Pelicans-Denver Nuggets game, ESPN’s Jorge Sedano gave a sideline report talking about Williamson’s progress. In the report, Sedano shared that the Pelicans are reprogramming Williamson.
The Pelicans are “reprogramming [Williamson] physically,” Sedano said. “It’s all about the kinetic chain of the body, even teaching him to walk and run differently. He mentioned the staff gets on him when he’s not doing it right.”
Sedano said that Williamson told him he’d already be back playing if the team let him.
“If it were up to me, I’d be out there already, but I trust the organization and how they’re handling me,” Williamson told Sedano.
Williamson is currently doing individual and group drills, but no 5-on-5 work yet. The Pelicans would like to have him doing 5-on-5 drills after the new year, according to the report.
Williamson was initially expected to miss 6-8 weeks after undergoing arthroscopic surgery on his knee in October and has gone past that time frame. It seems a little odd that the Pelicans want to remake such a stellar athlete, but like Williamson said, he is trusting them. The Pelicans recently said they will not rush him back.