When he’s on the court, New Orleans Pelicans superstar Zion Williamson is undoubtedly one of the NBA’s most impactful players.
But therein lies the problem.
Williamson, who is just 22 years old, is not on the court all that often.
Injury concerns hung over Williamson like a dark cloud prior to his NBA career. But even knowing the risks, the Pelicans selected Williamson No. 1 overall in the 2019 NBA Draft.
Those concerns immediately reared their head as Williamson played just 24 games in his rookie season. Though he flashed his immense talent in those games, averaging 22.5 points and 6.3 rebounds per game.
Williamson played in 61 games in his second season and emerged as NBA All-Star, averaging 27 points, 7.2 rebounds and 3.7 assists per game along the way.
However, a right foot injury suffered in the offseason cost the Pellies’ young star the entire 2021-22 NBA season.
Williamson returned to begin the 2022-23 season and made the NBA All-Star game yet again. But a hamstring injury suffered in early January ended his season after just 29 games.
New Orleans went crashing out of the playoffs in the play-in round after a loss to upstart Oklahoma City Thunder. Pelicans guard CJ McCollum appeared to call out Williamson after the loss, and the young star said that his unavailability was more mental than physical.
Now it appears New Orleans general manager David Griffin is running out of patience.
“I think a big part is on him,” Griffin told NOLA.com. “I think there is a lot he can do better. And he would, I think, tell you that. I think we need to do a better job examining the whole situation top to bottom a little bit better.”
Williamson has played just 124 of a possible 335 games in his career. With his max rookie extension kicking in next season, Griffin and Pelicans can only hope that something changes.