As New Orleans Pelicans star Zion Williamson works his way back from offseason foot surgery, his weight problems remain the central discussion. Williamson reportedly has pushed past 300 pounds, leading to another wave of criticism. Hall of Famer Walt Frazier is now the latest to publicly blast the Pelicans star.
Zion Williamson continues recovery from offseason foot surgery
Since the Pelicans’ Mediay Day, the attention around the franchise remains glued to Williamson‘s health.
New Orleans revealed the star forward suffered a broken foot that required offseason surgery, delaying his debut for the 2021-22 season. Williamson has progressed in his recovery, but there isn’t a set timetable for his return.
The Pelicans continue to monitor his health as he nears closer to another evaluation check by the team’s medical staff. After the last examination, general manager David Griffin voiced Williamson will be back in the fold as soon as he’s deemed safe to do so.
“Given the nature of bone healing, there is no fixed timeline for his return to game action, but the doctors are very encouraged by this last batch of images,” Griffin said via NBA.com. “As he continues along his return-to-play progression, doctors will be using additional imaging that will take place two to two and a half weeks from now, as guides and landmarks for taking the next steps. It’s everyone’s goal that Zion return to play as soon as is safely possible.”
The discussion has shifted to Williamson’s weight after ballooning up to around 300 pounds. It’s led another Hall of Famer to call him out publicly.
Zion Williamson blasted over his weight issues by a Hall of Famer: ‘Man, he’s got to get that weight off’
Over Williamson‘s brief NBA career, his weight sits as the anchor of criticism toward him.
He’s struggled mightily to maintain that aspect, leading the discussion to flare up again after he showed up to heavier to the team’s media day. Much of which centered on him reportedly weighing over 300 pounds.
Immediately after the New York Knicks edged out the Pelicans on Saturday night, Hall of Famer Walt Frazier called out Williamson’s weight during the MSG Network’s live broadcast.
“Zion folks, you can see he’s put on some pounds,” Frazier said. “Man, he’s got to get that weight off.”
The weight problems wouldn’t be such a glaring issue if Williamson didn’t already undergo two significant surgeries. The overwhelming consensus around him is that if he played at a lower weight, it would help him avoid leg issues.
On top of that, the missed playing time is only further fueling the criticism. Williamson is a phenomenal talent, but the more he deals with injuries, the more he will be chastised about his physique.
Pelicans’ future remains tied to Zion Williamson
Despite the lingering health issues, the Pelicans remain firmly committed to Williamson as one of the franchise centerpieces.
When healthy, he has proven to be one of the league’s top young talents. He’s coming off earning his first All-Star game selection after averaging 27.0 points on 61.1% shooting from the floor. Williamson holds the keys to the future as the Pelicans want to build around him and Brandon Ingram.
However, 21-year-old’s ongoing health issues may eventually bleed over into his next contract. After the 2021-22 season, he’s eligible for a five-year, $181 million rookie extension that runs through 2027.
Even if the Pelicans don’t work out a new contract next summer, he holds one more year in his four-year, $44.2 million rookie deal that moves through the 2022-23 campaign. It also features a $17.5 million qualifying offer for the 2023-24 season.
Beyond all that, it underlines the massive contract decision ahead.
Contract figures courtesy of Spotrac.