Zion Williamson played one half of NBA Summer League, before a minor injury put him out for the rest of the duration. Given the importance of the No. 1 pick to the New Orleans Pelicans, it is a justifiable decision.
Williamson’s first game brought crazy fan fare to Las Vegas, for an event usually reserved for media types and total die hards. After a minor bruised knee, David Griffin announced that he would be shut down.
The new Pels general manager admitted that Zion wasn’t in “great condition” in terms of his conditioning. Given that, it didn’t make sense to push him during this exhibition season.
Zion Williamson’s former coach Mike Krzyzewski weighed in on the decision, and had a pretty interesting take on the situation.
In speaking to Forbes‘ Adam Zagoria, he seemed to back up Griffin’s notion, and added that given the various social events that Williamson has been attending, like this week’s ESPYS, he shouldn’t have been playing summer league at all.
“No, I thought really he never should’ve played just because he’s been on this circuit of awards, the ESPYs, everything,” Mike Krzyzewski told me at the Peach Jam in North Augusta, S.C., where he’s recruiting this week. “I don’t think he’s in the playing shape or the mental shape to play.”
It is a pretty interesting stance from Coach K, who one would assume would be very loath to say the same thing about one of his active players during preparation from the season.
That isn’t to say that ultimately he and Griffin aren’t right. If there is any risk to Zion getting hurt, he shouldn’t play summer league. He’s not alone either. A number of other prominent players including No. 2 pick Ja Morant, have also sat out games.
Still, mentioning things like the ESPYS as a reason definitely turns some heads.