The New Orleans Pelicans have played Zion Williamson limited minutes since the NBA’s restart, which has received criticism from some corners as being too cautious, but there are some that believe he shouldn’t be playing at all. Williamson hasn’t been nearly as effective over the Pelicans’ first two games as he was when the season was suspended in March.
“Zion is not on their injury report,” said Brian Windhorst on his podcast. “They are treating him as though he’s coming back from an injury, but he’s not on their injury report. I cannot make an assumption as to what’s going on there. When you watch him play, he clearly is not in condition to compete at the highest level. As I’ve watched him play two games, I don’t actually think they should have played him at all with the way he’s playing. I talked to a scout who said to me he shouldn’t be out there right now with the condition he is in. He said to me, ‘He’s moving worse than he did in Summer League last summer when he got hurt in his first or second game.’
“I don’t know if that’s because he’s out of condition, or that’s because he’s got something that they’re not discussing. This is one of the things that the Pelicans have to deal with… this is a guy who has a history of knee injuries and is not right either because of conditioning or because of something else.”
Williamson was gone from the Pelicans for over a week and then was under quarantine for a few days when he returned to Orlando.
“He does not look right,” said Kirk Goldsberry. “It does not look good. I don’t know if I would go so far as to say he shouldn’t be out there because I don’t know… Something smells fishy here. I don’t know what’s going on. He does not look like the kid that was dominating the league in March.”
Windhorst and Goldsberry also talked about how many young players need time to grow into their bodies and that may be the case with Williamson.
“The Pelicans have been very careful not to insult him in any way,” said Windhorst.