Zion Williamson is expected to make his NBA debut in less than a week on January 22 against the Spurs, but the recovery process from his knee injury, his weight and the actual mechanics of his movements remain major talking points.
After it had been reported that the Pelicans were teaching Williamson different ways to both walk and run, the latest comments from New Orleans GM David Griffin about how the rehab process has been going, on top of how the Pels are going to put him into action, make a lot of sense.
To say the mechanics of Williamson’s movements are of the utmost priority heading into his NBA future would be an understatement it appears.
“Our challenge with Zion is: How do you continue to give him enough strength to control the torque he generates without adding weight that increases the torque in and of itself,” Griffin told ESPN. “Giving him the ability to be flexible enough and to have the right mechanics, and supporting that flexibility with the strength that it takes to control it in the form of a kid who adds muscle mass as fast as any human being I’ve ever seen.”
This is a really interesting breakdown. There’s no denying that Williamson creates a crazy amount of torque seeing as how he has pogo sticks as legs, but at the same time, adding the right weight and keeping him at an ideal number on the scale has clearly been a top priority during the rehab process.
Another interesting note in the ESPN story was that Williamson put on eight pounds in just one week when the team went through a heavy weight-lifting program during the offseason. Griffin, along with other staffers, were pretty stunned by this.
“He’s not normal,” Griffin said. “So finding stasis with Zion is the challenge, because he’s 19 years old. He’s still growing. It’s not going to be about a number. It’s going to be about metrics of flexibility and strength and control and all of the different things that we can measure that really are outside of weight.”
“If you’re not moving well, I don’t care if you’re 300 pounds or if you’re 175 pounds, there’s going to be a problem,” one NBA trainer says. “It’s got to be quality movement. The mechanics have to be done right.”
Anyone that’s seen Williamson dunk a basketball knows that he’s not normal, but these stories really put an emphasis on just how unique the former Duke star is.