According to sources, Zion Williamson, during his injury-riddled rookie season, was frustrated with David Griffin and the Pelicans as he played after 3 months despite being promised a 6-8 weeks return timetable.
Zion Williamson is among the brightest young talents in the league. Undoubtedly, Zion will be one of the future faces of the league. What the 21-year-old phenom has achieved in his first two years in the league, has been done by a few very set of all-time greats.
Despite having the added pressure of being the “next LeBron James”, Williamson has tremendously been surpassing all the surreal expectations set on him.
Before the 2019 Draft, there were many who did consider him to be a bit unfit and maybe even a bust. However, the New Orleans Pelicans organization will be more than elated with their 6-foot-8 prodigy. As a rookie, “Zanos” averaged 22.5 points, 6.3 rebounds, 2.1 assists on an incredible 58% shooting from the field.
However, many might know this, Zion actually sat out for the first 44 games of his rookie season. Due to a right knee injury, he sustained in the Summer League, Williamson missed out on 3 months of his rookie season.
Zion Williamson was frustrated with the New Orleans Pelicans for the way they treated his return-to-play timetable
Sitting out the first 3 months of a rookie season would hurt any professional athlete. However, Zion was pretty civil about it. Or he was at least in public.
Apparently, during the course of his injured rookie season, Zion was frustrated with NOLA for the way the front office had him wait longer than expected to play ball. According to sources, Williamson was supposed to be back in playing conditions in 6-8 weeks. However, Zion played his first NBA game on 22nd January 2020, after 3 months of the commencement of the season.
Christian Clark of NOLA.com wrote:
“Throughout his rookie season, Williamson had grown increasingly frustrated with the Pelicans for the number of hoops they required him to jump through to return from the knee injury he suffered in the preseason. The team initially provided a return-to-play timetable of six to eight weeks, but it took more than three months for Williamson to get back on the floor. When he was finally given the thumbs up to play, he was placed on “burst” limits, which he detested. The way Williamson’s return was handled caused significant tension between him and the team’s medical staff, sources said.”
Clark further mentioned in his article how David Griffin hoped to “forge a bond” with Zion. However, things didn’t turn out as well as expected as the two “communicate infrequently now”.
“Williamson’s relationship with Griffin had also begun to sour. Although they communicate infrequently now, Griffin tried hard in Williamson’s rookie year to forge a bond. One example: During the Pelicans’ bubble stay, Griffin asked to meet with Williamson and played the piano for him.”
— TheBenchWarmer🏀 (@BenchWarmerPost) September 22, 2021
After two failures of a season, the Pels hope new head coach Willie Green is an answer to a majority of their problems.