Pelicans news: Zion Williamson will not play significant minutes in next two games, per David Griffin
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Zion Williamson will not play significant minutes in next two games, per David Griffin

Pelicans, Zion Williamson, David Griffin

In a lengthy interview with reporters on Friday, New Orleans Pelicans executive vice president David Griffin emphasized that Zion Williamson won’t play significant minutes in their next two seeding games.

Williamson only played 15 minutes on Thursday against the Utah Jazz. Pelicans fans and NBA pundits were confused by Williamson’s playing time since every game is so important for the team down in Orlando, Florida.

Griffin, however, pointed out that Williamson is still getting back into game shape and the Pelicans are going to be cautious with their new franchise player in the post-Anthony Davis era.

“I appreciate the fact that everyone wants him to play 40 minutes every night,” David Griffin said, per Nola.com. “I can promise you he’s not going to. No mistakes were made yesterday with how this was handled other than by me coming forward and expressing this in the clearest way possible. This isn’t complicated. He will not play significant minutes in the next game, and he may not in the following game. This is all about the ramp-up time. He didn’t get the benefit of the things that his teammates got for those 13 days. This is going to take some time.

“Conditioning is a word everybody uses. It’s really about the ramp-up,” the Pelicans’ exec continued. “It’s what our performance team was doing for a load management standpoint for every member of our roster. If you go back and look at the box scores from those scrimmages, there was a reason why they played the minutes they did, and he didn’t get the benefit of that. Unfortunately, the nature of this setup with these seeding games, our schedule doesn’t allow us to play 5-on-5 in between. The only way we can get him that simulation is during those games. I realize it’s really detrimental to be doing what we’re attempting to do, which is make the playoffs. But if we’re going to have him at full strength to go through these games, the only thing we can do is go through this process. There isn’t any other alternative.”

The Pelicans will face the Los Angeles Clippers and Memphis Grizzlies in the next two seeding games. After Thursday’s loss, New Orleans is under more pressure to win pretty much every game moving forward at Disney World.

Following Thursday’s outing against the Jazz, Zion Williamson is now averaging 23.1 points and 6.5 rebounds for the Pelicans in 29.0 minutes per game. The lefty put up 13 points versus the Jazz on 6-of-8 shooting from the floor.