Pelicans coach Stan Van Gundy laments lack of calls for Zion Williamson while Giannis Antetokounmpo gets them all
The latest matchup between New Orleans Pelicans forward Zion Williamson and Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo lived up to the hype, with both players leading their teams in a back-and-forth game. But in the end, it was Antetokounmpo and the Bucks that took home the win, 129-125.
The reigning MVP and Defensive Player of the Year finished with a game-high 38 points, while Williamson, who was named an All-Star in only his second year, finished with 35 points for the Pelicans, with 30 of his points coming inside the paint. Head coach Stan Van Gundy, however, can’t believe the 20-year-old made a living under the basket but only shot five free throws, according to ESPN’s Andrew Lopez.
Stan says he “doesn’t buy” Zion having 30 points in the paint and only 5 FTA.
Mentioned Zion isn’t to the point where he gets the same calls at Giannis yet.
— Andrew Lopez (@_Andrew_Lopez) February 26, 2021
Van Gundy then added that Williamson isn’t at that point where he receives the same calls as Giannis, who attempted 10 free throws in the game and made eight of them. While Williamson doesn’t seem interested in complaining about the officiating and potential missed calls after the game, Van Gundy had stronger words and wants his prized player to receive more respect from the officials.
Both Williamson and Antetokounmpo’s numbers seem to support Van Gundy’s point, with the Duke product attempting an average of 7.9 freebies per game and making 5.6, which ranks sixth in the NBA. The Greek Freak, meanwhile, takes 10.6 charities and makes seven each game, which ranks second in the league just behind Philadelphia 76ers big man Joel Embiid.
It’s interesting to see whether Van Gundy’s words will have an effect on how officials will make calls whenever the Williamson drives toward the basket in their next games. Because while Zion seems to be content in taking the high road when it comes to officiating, it’s clear that his coach doesn’t share that sentiment.
The Pelicans face the San Antonio Spurs on Saturday.