The New Orleans star, who has not yet opened the season and is overweight, was injured in the summer and had a private operation – but did his team know about it in real time? Meanwhile the fans feel cheated, Barkley and Shaq mock his appearance and even his return to training does not dispel the fog
When Charles Barkley mocks you and says you look like he and Shaquille O’Neal have had a child – there’s a serious problem here. This is currently being tackled by Zion Williamson (21), one of the rising stars in the NBA. The two legends, who have more than once faced weight issues during their careers, did not exactly demonstrate political correctness appropriate for 2021 when in early November they landed on a zone that looked heavy in the warm-up and was reported to have reached 136 kg (!), 8 kg more than the season Previous.
After Shaq stopped laughing repeatedly at the joke, Barkley got serious and said that while he was playing he came to the Rockies camp with a weight similar to that of Zion, and snatched on the head from the legendary Moses Hotel, his teammate in Philadelphia. “I asked him, ‘Why don’t I get more minutes?'” Said Barkley who thought he deserved a place in the top five. “He turned around, looked at me from the bottom up and scolded me: ‘Because you’re fat and lazy, that’s why. You can’ t play basketball if you’re not fit. ‘
It’s been a full month since then and it’s unclear if Zion listened to Barkley’s advice, but the New Orleans Pelicans may be optimistic after learning the talented forward began full training, for the first time since being injured in the summer on foot and undergoing surgery that caused him to miss the season opener. On the other hand, the India team is still unclear when he will return to the floor to help his teammates who started the season very badly and are ranked last in the West with a 19: 7 balance.
It’s still early, but it can already be stated that the Pelicans will not qualify for the playoffs this season (for the fourth time in a row), something that may actually be useful in the context of Zion. He and the team can take the time and focus on his full recovery, without the pressure to achieve results.
However, beneath the surface there is tension between the three sides – Zion, New Orleans and fans of the team. It all started when Pelicans basketball president David Griffin (yes, the one who fired Blatt in Cleveland) announced on the first day of training camp in September that Williamson injured his leg and underwent surgery at an unknown time – but is expected to recover by the season opener. “By his schedule he should be ready for the first game, so we hope,” Griffin said. Zion said similar things, statements that are seen now and also at the start of the season are detached from reality and caused embarrassment.
In other words, did the people of New Orleans assure fans of Zion even though they knew his injury was pretty serious? And what about the fact that the group did not announce the surgery in real time, but waited for the training to open? According to ESPN, Williamson asked the club not to inform the media for privacy reasons, and he responded. The team may have earned points at the big star, but the team fans were really not happy with the information being hidden.
In addition, Zion underwent the surgery privately and the person who treated him was Dr. Richard Perkel who successfully operated on many stars, including Steph Curry. Raised the question: Did the Pelicans themselves know about it at the time or find out at a later stage? We will probably not receive the answers soon and the group is in no hurry to provide details on the subject.
Zion Williamson. pic.twitter.com/CcpLv7DEC6
— Turnover Brasil (@BrasilTurnover) December 6, 2021
Health is worth money
Zion’s health is also critical to his pocket and will affect him in the short and long term. This is his third year in the league and next summer New Orleans will aspire to sign him to a contract extension – maximum or even less, depending on his performance on the floor and especially in the state of injuries. There is another option, one that the Pelicans fear: an extension to one year after the end of the four-year rookie contract. Christopher Porzingis, during his time with the New York Knicks, threatened to use this option to have him traded, and succeeded.
Because Zion was selected first in the draft, he may earn the highest amount ever in such a situation: $ 17.6 million in the 2023/24 season. But the obstacle is, again, his health. To achieve this, he must start next season with at least 41 games or play 2,000 minutes. If he does not achieve this, the amount will drop to $ 7.7 million. By comparison, in his first season, in which he was mostly injured, he recorded 667 minutes in just 24 games, last year he had already reached 2,025 minutes and started in 61 games.
Zion Williamson 2021 media day (top) and media day 2019 (bottom) pic.twitter.com/xrZ3GbxWjR
— ً (@LakerFern) October 14, 2021
The Pelicans make great efforts to maintain his health and surround him with an entire team, including culinary changes designed to support his eating habits. They also explain to him how to protect his body from rival players, and last season Griffin sent videos to the league management showing how much he is snatching. When that did not work, Griffin sharply criticized the judges and was fined $ 50,000.
In the meantime you will not find a bad word of the club about Zion, they chose to go with him to the end (or until the next serious injury). And all this is understandable in light of the group’s gloomy future and especially his electrifying performances when he was healthy. We already mentioned the rookie season in which he played little, and still excited with an average of 22.5 points in 27.8 minutes per game. Last season he had already become an All-Star for everything with 27 points per game on 60 percent from the field, 7 rebounds and 3.2 assists.
It will be interesting to see how this season develops, because if Zion proves he can return to normal ability and stay healthy over time, New Orleans will already be preparing the draft for a maximum contract next summer. On the other hand, this week it has been reported that he is suffering from leg pain and has stopped training, another delay that raises the question: Is it not better for New Orleans to shut him down until the end of the season? In the meantime we will wait for the next update regarding his condition and hope for good news.