It has been a quick rise to stardom for Zion Williamson in his short tenure in the NBA. That has also seen him struggle with his health as he experienced a serious injury in his rookie campaign that has drawn strict precautions from the New Orleans Pelicans. Those concerns have continued to weigh down Williamson’s playing time, which he has vented out his frustrations with the entire matter.
Zion Williamson’s return to the NBA Bubble
Since the start of the Orlando Bubble situation last month, the Pelicans have kept a close eye on promising rookie Zion Williamson.
That scrutiny became even more prevalent after Williamson left for 13 days of basketball activity to tend to a family emergency. Following his return to the team, New Orleans has progressively worked him back into the fold. The Pelicans have put him in the spot of playing in “burst restrictions” in each quarter.
It has resulted in Williamson playing in only 29 minutes through the first two games in the restarted season. The limitation in those minutes was impacted heavily in Saturday’s blowout loss to the LA Clippers as the team was down by 37 points after three quarters. Head coach Alvin Gentry voiced that Williamson would have played in the fourth quarter had it been a competitive game.
All that has led to the former Duke product to air out his disappointment with the situation.
Zion Williamson doesn’t like minute restriction
Since returning to the Orlando bubble, it has been a tough transition for Zion Williamson.
The Pelicans have continued to go the precautionary route with his minute workload to ensure he doesn’t experience a setback. That has pushed the star rookie to the point of frustration due to the lack of playing time, according to Ryan Dunleavy of The New York Post.
“It’s very tough, to be honest, because as soon as I start to break that sweat, I look over and that horn is for me and I have to come out the game,” Williamson said. “Also, when I do catch the flow of the game, like I said, that horn goes off and it’s for me.”
It may not be what Williamson wants at this point, but New Orleans is operating with his long-term future in mind. His limited presence has impacted the team’s success through the first two games in the restart, but that isn’t something that franchise will value over his NBA career beyond it.
Is this the right move to make?
It may not be the situation that Zion Williamson wants to be in coming back to the team, but it’s something that’s out of his control.
The Pelicans likely have a hard time looking past his injury history with the torn meniscus that cost him most of the 2019-20 campaign. Williamson is a core piece of the puzzle in their group of promising young talent that the franchise hopes to build with over the next several years.
Despite his limited action, the 20-year-old has shown that he’s a high-impact that can energize the team through his play while holding a bright future ahead. With that in mind, the Pelicans will remain on the precautionary side with his health as that could derail him from reaching his massive potential.
There will continue to be lingering frustrations with playing time situation, but it’s a matter done with the long-term future in mind. Williamson will see his playing time steadily increase as it did he when he first returned this season. It’s just a matter of time of him getting his legs under him and not pushing him past his physical limit too quickly.