One of the biggest stories in the NBA this year is the emergence of rookie phenom Zion Williamson. When he’s played, Williamson has wowed. He’s filled up the highlight reel with great play after great play. The problem is that Williamson hasn’t been available for a large part of the season. Why exactly is that, and does his weight have anything to do with it? And how much does Zion Williamson weigh?
Zion Williamson’s struggles with injuries
While Williamson has been brilliant in both college and the NBA over the past two seasons, he’s had plenty of health issues to contend with. In his only season at Duke, Williamson suffered a bizarre injury: after busting open his sneaker, he sprained his knee. The injury forced him to miss five games. Unfortunately, it was a harbinger of things to come.
The New Orleans Pelicans selected Williamson with the first overall pick in the 2019 NBA Draft. Williamson’s spot as the top selection was a foregone conclusion; there was little doubt over who the Pelicans planned to take.
Unfortunately, the team would have to wait a significant amount of time to reap the rewards of that pick. In October of last year, Williamson had surgery to repair the torn meniscus on the same knee. Williamson’s debut was delayed as he missed the first 44 games of this season.
A successful rookie season
Injuries notwithstanding, Williamson has been absolutely terrific when inserted into the Pelicans lineup. His first game came in a mid-January tilt and he did not disappoint. The young forward scored 22 points and had seven rebounds with three assists. Even more telling was his play during crunch time: Williamson scored 17 straight points in the fourth quarter.
Ever since the sky has been the limit for him. Here are the stats he’s put up in 14 games this season:
- 23.4 points per game
- 6.8 rebounds per game
- 2.3 assists per game
- Shooting 58.1% on field goals
- Shooting 41.7% on three-pointers
- 25.2 Player Efficiency Rating
One can’t argue with that kind of production, and if the small sample size of his first 14 games is any indication, Williamson is for real. But with injuries keeping him off the floor for extended periods of time, some have questioned whether Zion Williamson’s weight has contributed to his overall health and ability to stay on the court.
How much does Zion Williamson weigh?
Pro Basketball Reference lists Williamson’s weight at 285 pounds. There may be some discrepancy about that total, however. On “The Bill Simmons Podcast,” Bill Simmons noted that he had heard from a “reliable source” that Williamson’s playing weight is over 300 pounds. Now the question becomes: can Williamson sustain playing the style he plays at this bodyweight?
A potential template for Williamson to follow is Charles Barkley. Barkley was always a bit of a husky player who combined that girth with incredible athleticism. Barkley did run into issues as he aged, however. He changed his style to become more of a low post presence but lost much of the speed and quickness that made him one of the league’s elite talents.
Williamson has yet to turn 20 years old. He’s always going to be a bigger player, as he has a big frame. But if he doesn’t manage to keep his weight down to a manageable number — especially as he enters his mid-to-late 20s — he may have trouble staying on the floor.
If the Pelicans improve (as many experts think they will with their talented young core), they may make multiple playoff trips. This means more games and more miles on Williamson’s basketball odometer.
While he’s a phenomenal talent, Williamson’s best bet is to try to trim his weight by 10-15 pounds to continue playing at the incredibly high level he’s at right now.