Zion Williamson’s NBA summer league stint ended after nine minutes in his first game when the No. 1 overall pick suffered a bone bruise to his knee. The injury isn’t expected to be serious.
When New Orleans Pelicans GM David Griffin elaborated on why his team elected to shut Williamson down for the summer, he admitted the 6-foot-7, 280-pound rookie’s conditioning also wasn’t where it needed to be.
“He came to us — he wasn’t in great condition,” Griffin said on ESPN’s The Jump. “From a cardio perspective, it wasn’t a great situation to begin with. So when he took that shot, really it was just, from my standpoint, it was more caution than anything else to shut him down at that point, because there’s really no reason to push him when he was in the situation he was in.”
Earlier today, ESPN college basketball analyst Seth Greenberg also expressed concern about Williamson’s fitness, calling him “significantly overweight.
Via For The Win:
“My concern isn’t about his game, my concern is about his body. I mean, you can’t improve unless you’re in shape, and he is not in shape.
… Whatever his weight is, it’s significantly overweight.”
Somewhat surprisingly, Greenberg went on to backtrack slightly on his “overweight” comment, later saying that he is more concerned with Williamson’s overall conditioning, not what the scale says.
“Watching him in the Summer League, he played nine minutes. Look, he ripped the ball out of Kevin Knox’s hand and dunked the ball, that’s great.
He couldn’t move. He couldn’t move. And in the end, if he’s going to have a long career – and you made a great point earlier. When [Charles] Barkley was at his very best, he got in world-class shape. And it’s nothing to do with his weight, to me, it has to do with his conditioning. And right now, he’s in condition to get hurt, not to be a great player.”
At the very least, Zion got a taste, albeit a brief one, of NBA summer league action, and he knows what he needs to improve on heading into training camp.
One would expect he’ll be in peak form come the fall.