New Orleans Pelicans rookie sensation Zion Williamson missed the majority of the 2019-20 season due to injury. Then, he looked rather out of sorts at the NBA “bubble” in Orlando.
However, new Pelicans head coach Stan Van Gundy said the training staff has not indicated the former No. 1 overall pick will have any restrictions in training camp.
Stan Van Gundy said no one – not medical staff or Zion – has mentioned any sort of restrictions that Zion could have in camp.
Says he expects first day of camp for all players will look different because guys haven’t had chances to play as much pickup as usual.
— Andrew Lopez (@_Andrew_Lopez) November 30, 2020
This is inherently positive news for the Pelicans, especially considering a number of insiders wondered whether Zion was dealing with physical limitations during the restart.
Williamson had arthroscopic surgery to fix a torn lateral right meniscus prior to the start of the season. He was initially slated to miss 6-to-8 weeks, though that timeline turned into a three-month absence.
However, Williamson would make his debut in January, and he would set the NBA world alight with his explosiveness and dynamic abilities. The former Duke star dominated prior to the season being suspended in March, averaging over 23 points and six rebounds per game.
Zion and Pelicans point guard Lonzo Ball were a sight to see in transition, and Williamson also asserted himself as a dominant help defender capable of rotating to swat anything in sight.
But things changed in the bubble. Former Pels head coach Alvin Gentry was hesitant to play Zion heavy minutes in the first few games. When Williamson did play extended runs, New Orlean’s defense was consistently exposed on the perimeter and in the paint. The Pels collapsed out of the playoff picture.
However, New Orleans will hope a healthy Zion can boost the team’s playoff chances in a loaded Western Conference.