With a playoff berth seemingly out of reach, the New Orleans Pelicans are prioritizing rookie forward Zion Williamson’s health over everything else.
On Thursday afternoon, the Pelicans fell short to the Sacramento Kings in a must-win game. Williamson played very well, making 10-of-12 field goal attempts for 24 points. He’s been efficient since the NBA returned to action, but the coaching staff has closely monitored his playing time.
The Pelicans will be back in action tonight against the Washington Wizards. In an effort to keep the No. 1 overall pick healthy for the long haul, New Orleans will not play Williamson.
New Orleans refuses to let Williamson loose, which is understandable. That being said, it’ll only make matters worse for a team that is 3.5 games back of the eighth seed in the Western Conference.
The Pelicans announce Zion Williamson will not play against Washington tonight on the second night of a back-to-back
— Marc Stein (@TheSteinLine) August 7, 2020
When he’s on the court, Williamson is undeniably the most impactful rookie from the 2019 draft class. He’s averaging 22.4 points and 6.2 rebounds per game for the Pelicans.
Even though Williamson won’t be on the floor tonight for New Orleans, the team still has more than enough firepower to keep up with Washington. Jrue Holiday, Brandon Ingram and JJ Redick could be in line for strong performances.
The Pelicans will need to win their final four seeding games if they want any chance at making the playoffs.
As for Williamson, the high-flying rookie will most likely return to action on Sunday against the Spurs.