Zion Williamson and his being sidelined due to injury is rumored to be causing a rift between him and the New Orleans Pelicans. According to Andrew Lopez, an NBA reporter for ESPN, Zion and his team are on different sides of the conversation regarding his injury.
Zion Williamson and Pelicans rumored to have difference of opinion on his return to the court
Lopez explained it as being a “difference of opinion” between Zion Williamson and the New Orleans Pelicans. Where the Pelicans believe Zion needs to stay sidelined, the player himself is rumored to believe he is much healthier than his team is making everyone believe he is.
The narrative around Zion and his team having a difference of opinion on this matter started when Williamson posted a video of himself smashing a very athletic dunk. The explosive finish can be seen below.
After the initial video surfaced weeks ago, Stephen A. Smith voiced how he believed it was sending the same message. Smith explained:
“When [Zion] put out that video, it was the latest example of how they’re not on the same page.”
Fast forward from that video to just two days ago, and Zion seems to be doubling down on the message he wants to send to everyone. During the Pelicans warm-up the other night, Zion Williamson threw the ball down with a 360-slam.
Zion Williamson fractured his foot in the off-season. The Pelicans withheld the injury from the public until September 2021, presumably due to them expecting him to be healthy for the start of the season.
Instead, Zion had surgery on his foot and then almost again a second time. Fast forward to now, we stand at a crossroads between Zion and the Pelicans. Both parties seem to be on separate pages at the moment and that does not read well for New Orleans.
Williamson has been in the NBA for three seasons now, having not played in his current (third) season. Having been injured for a dominant majority of his second year, Zion only managed 20 games in 2020-21. The young star has only appeared in 85 games across his three years in the NBA, averaging 25.7 points, 7.0 rebounds, and 3.2 assists.
Stats like these could be missed from any player, let alone a young, up-and-coming force like Zion. He has not had much luck with injuries at the start of his career. New Orleans needs to arguably be more proactive in showing interest in keeping Williamson healthy if they want him to stay. The rift between Zion and the Pelicans is an unhealthy one at the moment, and may only grow larger from here.
The New Orleans Pelicans face off against a tough Phoenix Suns squad Saturday night for Game 1 of the first round of this year's playoffs. The meeting is going to be a tough match up for New Orleans but the story may have been much different if Zion Williamson was able to suit up.