New Orleans Pelicans executive vice president David Griffin appears to have urged Zion Williamson to manage his weight better but has also defended the player from the criticism he’s gotten this work.
Zion has struggled to maintain a good weight since entering the NBA as the No. 1 overall draft pick in 2019 and it’s continued causing him problems as he has been unable to remain fit for an entire term, missing all of the 2021/22 season with an injury after showing up to training camp over 300 pounds.
He wasn’t able to finish the 2022/23 campaign for the Pels, having sat out from January due to a hamstring issue and only played 29 games all season.
Griffin has seemingly accused the star of not doing enough to remain in peak condition but also put some of the blame on the team.
“I think a big part is on him,” he said, per Nola.com. “I think there is a lot he can do better. And he would, I think, tell you that. I think we need to do a better job examining the whole situation top to bottom a little bit better.”
The 22-year-old sat out the Play-In tournament fixture against the Oklahoma City Thunder on Wednesday despite claiming he was physically fine. He has been on the receiving end of criticism as a result, especially as he was putting up shots and dunking during the warmup period.
Griffin revealed that Zion was not actually cleared to play and his claims were part of a “misstatement” that he would have cleared up had he been available at the time.
“He wasn’t physically cleared to play basketball,”the EVP added. “He was playing 1-on-none. He went up and windmill dunked pregame. That’s not the skill set that makes you capable of playing 5-on-5 basketball. So for people to now say, ‘He chose not to play basketball,’ that’s nonsense.
“He makes the one misstatement about, ‘Physically, I’m fine. Had I been here, I would have clarified it immediately. The thing is when you’re going through a rehab process and a player does not report, ‘I’m very comfortable and confident in this movement,’ you don’t go to the next movement.”
Williamson’s start to the season was very encouraging and the Pels were flying while he was on the court. However, he added some pounds after sustaining the hamstring injury and aggravated the problem while working towards a return in February.WANT MORE FROM TOTALPROSPORTS? FOLLOW US ON GOOGLE NEWS.