Zion Williamson was inactive in the New Orleans Pelicans' 123-118 loss to the OKC Thunder on Wednesday. The Pelicans were eliminated from playoff contention and will enter the offseason with a few questions about Williamson.
On "SportsCenter" on ESPN, Tony Kornheiser and Michael Wilbon discussed Williamson's future in New Orleans. While Wilbon would want the Pelicans to trade the two-time All-Star, Kornheiser was baffled by his comments about his mental health.
"There's a certain amount of uncertainty about your franchise if you are dependent on him," Kornheiser said. "When he says something like, 'I can play now, but I'm waiting to be Zion,' I don't know what that means. What does that mean? Then doubt creeps in, and you wonder is this a situation where he doesn't want to be there."
What did Zion Williamson say?
Zion Williamson was cleared to play by the New Orleans Pelicans ahead of the play-in matchup against the OKC Thunder.
However, Williamson didn't feel confident about his body holding up in his first game since January 2. He told reporters on Tuesday that he will return when he feels like himself again.
"Physically, I'm fine," Williamson said. "Now it's just a matter of when I feel like Zion. I can pretty much do everything, but it's just a matter of the level that I was playing at before my hamstring. I don't want to go out there and be in my own head and affect the team when I can just be on the sideline supporting them more, because I know myself."
Injuries have been a problem for Williamson since he entered the NBA in 2019. Williamson has played in just 114 games in his career, including 29 games in the last two seasons. He missed all of last season due to a foot injury, while a hamstring strain kept him out for most of this campaign.
CJ McCollum appears to call out Zion Williamson after Pelicans' loss
CJ McCollum appears to have called out Zion Williamson following the New Orleans Pelicans' loss to the OKC Thunder. McCollum, who was playing with an injured right thumb, told reporters that availability is critical to the team's success.
"Availability is important, man," McCollum said. "We've got to be available. We've got to do what we need to do off the court in terms of preparation, in terms of getting treatment, in terms of getting the right sleep, the right type of hydration, having the right type of diet."
Apart from Williamson, the Pelicans were also without Jose Alvarado and Larry Nance Jr. Alvarado is recovering from a stress reaction to his right tibia, while Nance is dealing with a sore left ankle.