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Pelicans news: Karl Malone rips Zion Williamson for ‘getting tired’

Karl Malone, Zion Williamson, Pelicans

New Orleans Pelicans superstar big man and former No. 1 overall NBA Draft pick Zion Williamson is an absolute phenom and quite possibly a once-in-a-lifetime type of player.

Not only is Williamson a skilled big man that is looking to take his game to the next level after encountering an injury-plagued rookie campaign in 2019-20, but the former Duke Blue Devils standout is also as physically gifted as it gets.

However, former Utah Jazz big man and NBA legend Karl Malone recently gave an interesting take in regards to Williamson’s physique.

“Guys, I love Zion Williamson. We might not ever know his full potential. There was a young man who played at LSU – [Glen] ‘Big Baby’ Davis – Big Baby made a comment about eight months ago,” Malone said, via the Knuckleheads Podcast with Darius Miles & Quentin Richardson. “And he came on that show and he said ‘Hey now, guys, I’m about to get into trouble with what I’m about to say. I know everybody loves Zion and I love him too. But Zion has the same body type that I got.’ He was talking about himself. And [Davis] said, ‘If [Williamson] don’t get into shape, we’ll never know his full potential.’ And he did get heat for that. But guess what guys, he needs to be averaging 40 minutes a game. You are a 21-22-year-old kid, your ass shouldn’t be getting tired.”

The 20-year-old Williamson stands at 6’7” while weighing just shy of 285 pounds. Currently in the midst of his second NBA season overall—though 2020-21 is his first full season atop the highest level—the top pick from the 2019 NBA Draft is averaging 22.6 points, 8.3 rebounds, 1.6 assists, 1.1 steals and 0.5 blocks per game this time around.

Zion Williamson is also averaging 32.4 minutes per outing in 2020-21 after averaging 22.5 points across 27.8 minutes per contest as a rookie. It is also worth noting that Williamson appeared in just 24 games as a rookie last season.