Cover Image for “Zion Williamson has played 3 times as many games as Joel Embiid did in his first 3 years”: Stan Van Gundy attempts to pacify New Orleans Pelicans fans as their all-star’s return is further delayed

“Zion Williamson has played 3 times as many games as Joel Embiid did in his first 3 years”: Stan Van Gundy attempts to pacify New Orleans Pelicans fans as their all-star’s return is further delayed

Indu Dasari
|Sat Dec 18 2021


Zion Williamson is set to miss another month due to the foot injury but New Orleans Pelicans fans are getting impatient. Ex-head coach Stan Van Gundy compares it to the Joel Embiid situation to bring some relief. 

New Orleans Pelicans currently have a 9-21 record, second-worst in the western conference. Things have not looked good for them since Anthony Davis’ departure in 2019. They had all their hopes on Zion Williamson, the most anticipated rookie since LeBron James.

Although the young star did live up to the expectations, he hasn’t been able to do it for a prolonged period. He suffered his first injury in the 2019 preseason and has been riddled with them ever since. His anticipated debut came 3 months late in his rookie season and hence began the injury-prone narrative.

So far he has been unsuccessful in proving it otherwise as the last game the all-star played was in May this year. Zion broke his foot and underwent surgery in the offseason. New Orleans Pelicans were optimistic that the young star would be available for the season opener. However, it’s been a month and a half and he is nowhere close to a return.

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Zion Williamson is a huge gamble for the New Orleans Pelicans

Pelicans have been firing one coach after another as they fail to make the playoffs each year. Stan Van Gundy, the ex-head coach who now works as an analyst for TNT believes Zion Williamson deserves a proper chance before the organization and the fans give up on him. He tries to draw parallels between him and Sixers center Joel Embiid in favor of Zion’s case.

Joel Embiid was considered injury-prone and a huge liability for the Philadelphia 76ers when he came to the league. Although it took some time, he managed to prove that narrative wrong. He is playing at an MVP level season after season and the Sizers are reaping its benefits.

Zion Williamson is in a similar situation but has been a lot more active in his initial years compared to JoJo. He played almost all of 2020-21 season and averaged 27 points, on 61.1% FG and 7 rebounds. He has the potential to be a great player in the future however, his bulky stature is always going to cause problems.

New Orleans Pelicans are giving him all the time he needs to properly recover from the surgery. He got an injection in the fractured foot as it did not heal properly. It will keep him out of action for 4-6 more weeks, after which he will be reevaluated. It will be too late for the Pelicans to make any serious run for a playoffs spot.

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