New Orleans Pelicans guard CJ McCollum seemed unhappy about teammate Zion Williamson not getting the superstar calls he rightfully deserves. While voicing his frustrations after the 118-114 loss against the Phoenix Suns, McCollum placed special emphasis on this aspect of the game.
Zion Williamson has looked like one of the best forwards in the league this season. Since signing his five-year extension with the team, the superstar has taken massive strides to ensure that the Pelicans emerge as contenders.
While putting himself on the frontlines, Zion has dominated against opposing defenses while helping the Pelicans become one of the best teams in the West. In every sense of the word, Zion Williamson is a superstar.
Unfortunately, Williamson is supposedly yet to reap the benefits of being a superstar.
A major part of being a superstar-caliber player is the leeway it earns with regard to officiating. Whether this means getting away with calls or drawing simple fouls, superstars do earn and reap some benefits.
This can be seen in the case of stars across the league, such as Joel Embiid, Luka Doncic and Giannis Antetokounmpo, who routinely earn free throws in games.
However, the same cannot be said for Zion. This aspect was made glaringly apparent during the Pelicans' game against the Phoenix Suns.
CJ McCollum recently voiced his frustration with the referees in an interview after the game. With the point of emphasis being the lack of foul calls earned by his superstar teammate, McCollum said:
"Z puts a lot of pressure on the rim, on the defense consistently. The same whistle we see for other star players, I don’t feel like it’s the same whistle for him considering the fact that he rarely shoots outside the paint."
Zion makes most of his points happen within the restricted area. Considering the physicality of this space, it is hard to fathom how he doesn't get many calls going his way.
McCollum's frustration was valid in this regard. Particularly considering the nature of foul calls going Phoenix's way. After a ferocious comeback led by Devin Booker saw the Suns emerge victorious, the New Orleans Pelicans must have spent some time mulling over where things went wrong.
Booker's performance should not be glazed over by something as trivial as a disparity in foul calls. However, with the Suns superstar shooting more free throws than the entire Pelicans team combined, McCollum and the Pelicans have every right to be frustrated.
Zion Williamson simply doesn't go to the charity stripe
CJ McCollum's concerns regarding Zion Williamson not heading to the FT line could be deemed snarky, considering when they were raised. However, there is more truth to his statement than expected.
Williamson, who is a bonafide superstar, is averaging 8.2 attempts from the charity stripe this season. While this isn't a low number by any means, considering the position and the manner in which he plays, this is a bit of an oddity.
There is some room for debate that Williamson doesn't get fouled a lot, primarily because he just bullies defenders out of the way. However, it is equally true that the Pelicans forward draws a lot of contact while making his way toward the cup.
Officials have been rather harsh towards physically stronger superstars as of late. A similar situation was seen with LA Lakers superstar LeBron James, who said that officials mentioned that they missed calls on him after the game.
Such a situation can be particularly frustrating for players as they don't get the rightful compensation for their hard work. However, Zion finds a way to dominate regardless.
Read: Kendrick Perkins believes Zion Williamson belongs in NBA MVP conversation: "He has a chip on his shoulder right now"