For New Orleans Pelicans rookie Zion Williamson, it’s time to turn the page on next season and focus on improving – with his game and his body.
“I will talk to my coaches and see what I need to do better from their point of view,”; Williamson said Thursday morning. “Talk to my player development coaches as well, see what I need to do best from their point of view. Just work on every part of my game and work to get my body where it needs to be.”
Asked where he felt he needed his body, Williamson said: “This is a conversation I will have with my team. About that.”
The 2019-20 season was an up and down affair for Williamson, who will not play in Thursday season season final against the Orlando Magic. He was injured to start the season, began to find his base before the break and then found himself again in a “cracked constraint” in the NBA bubble in Orlando, Florida.
Williamson’s weight – he’s ranked at 285 pounds – has been a topic of discussion since he was in Duke for his solitary college season. After returning to the bubble from a family medical emergency and 13 days off from basketball activities, his weight and conditioning were back at the forefront of the conversation.
“Everyone is right in their opinion,” Williamson said. “But I will stick to the thoughts of the people closest to me and my team and I will just go from there.”
In 24 games, Williamson averaged 22.5 points, 6.3 rebounds and 2.1 assists as he shot 58.3% from the field and went 6-14 from the 3-point range – although four of those made 3 came in his debut against the San Antonio Spurs in January. According to ESPN Stats & Information, Williamson is the second rookie in NBA history with an average of 20 points per game while shooting at least 55% from the field, joining Shaquille O’Neal (1992-93).
However, it was difficult for Williamson to find a rhythm, as he missed the first 43 games of the season after surgery to repair a torn meniscus in his right knee. He also passed restrictions on his early games before starting to find his pre-intervention progress.
“There were some tough patches where I was trying to reach a pace,” Williamson said. “This is part of the game and part of the return from injury. But you know, I feel like the coaches and coaching staff handled it very well. Just to be able to play a minute in an NBA game, I’m grateful for that. “
The Pelicans declined to make the play-offs, but Williamson said this season could be a “starting point” for the franchise to build.
“I think we may still have some lumps and bruises, but I feel like the chemistry will be much better,” he said. “If we continue to build it and have fun with it, I think we will be fine. … I think our future is bright. But we have to set the work for it. That’s all I can say about it. “.