Remember the last time you saw former Duke star Zion Williamson grace a basketball court? It has been such a long time since Williamson played in an NBA game that you can be excused for not remembering.
There have been reports of late that question when Williamson, while rehabbing from injury, will return to the New Orleans Pelicans or if he even wants to rejoin his teammates.
I believe New Orleans may need to think about life without Zion. If a small majority of the reports surfacing are true, it may be time to panic.
More cause for concern came to light last week after it was learned that Williamson has yet to contact newcomer CJ McCollum to the Pelicans after the team traded to the franchise.
Normally, it is a given that the face of a franchise contacts newcomers and welcomes them. Apparently, Zion did not get the memo. Either that or he has cut off all ties to the Pelicans.
Upon learning the latest of Williamson’s choices, fellow Dukie and former Pelicans’ teammate Jay Redick shared his thoughts of Williamson’s dedication to the game.
Redick spoke of how Williamson is showing a lack of investment to his teammates and city by not contacting McCollum who Redick called one of the top 50 players in the game.
Williamson has missed the entire season with a foot injury that could soon require a second surgery. Redick played with Williamson his first two years in the league and said that he had concerns throughout those two seasons.
Initially, most of the concerns with Zion centered around weight control. It is generally believed that Williamson is continuing to gain weight while not playing. This leads to additional concerns that increased weight gain will hamper his recovery. Redick made note of this while also labeling Williamson as a ‘detached teammate’.
Williamson’s future with the Pelicans franchise has long been a question mark and rumors have swirled that he could soon demand a trade out of New Orleans. McCollum’s addition gives the Pelicans another star-level player alongside Williamson, 21, and Brandon Ingram.
Redick spoke of an instance when he addressed his concerns with Zion in front of the team. Redick stated he spoke of how there is a responsibility within a team sport for athletes to be fully invested. He spoke of work ethic, commitment, and what it takes to be a teammate.
Right now, it appears Williamson has chosen not to display these traits to the Pelicans. Hopefully, we will see a recovery and be able to speak of the last time we saw Zion on the court.