In the three short years Zion Williamson has been in the NBA, we haven't seen a lot of him, but when he was on the court, the burly 6'6'' forward was dominating. The potential is sky-high, but the weight and injury troubles are a huge question mark and a red flag for the Pelicans, who could offer Zion a five-year max extension. If you ask Charles Barkley, that should give him enough motivation to lose a few pounds.
Worth the risk?
Zion's short career so far has been a true rollercoaster. In Williamson's first season, he only played 24 games in limited minutes. The second season was all the proof we need to say this guy can be one of the best in the league. Zion managed to stay relatively healthy, playing in 61 games, averaging 27.0 ppg, 7.2 rpg, and 3.7 apg on 61.1% from the floor and earning the All-Star selection.
But instead of taking a leap to stardom, Zion didn't play a single minute this season, healing a foot injury. It was frustrating to see and constantly wonder if we will maybe see the young star return, but his apparent weight gain didn't give too much promise to Pelicans fans.
We have only seen Zion in pre-game warmups and on the sidelines, but obviously, Williamson is not in shape. Listed at 285 lbs, Zion looks even heavier than that right now, and it's affecting his recovery and durability. The fact that this has been a topic of discussion since Zion entered the league has worried fans and raised questions if betting on him for the future would be too much of a gamble.
Someone that can relate to Zion very well is Charles Barkley, who offered his take on the situation the other day on the Dan Patrick Show:
"The most money I've ever made is like $5 million dollars. I've been blessed, I don't care about money. But if somebody told me they were getting ready to give me $200 million, I would be the skinniest power forward in the history of civilization."
Charles Barkley, The Dan Patrick Show
Charles and Zion can relate to each other in a lot of ways. Both being undersized, strong, and athletic power forwards that battled weight issues. We all know the infamous story about Moses Malone roasting Charles and motivating him to lose 50 pounds, but Zion doesn't have that voice in his ear.
The diet change helped Charles explode and become one of the best in history, and, unquestionably, Zion could have that same type of career if he gets himself right. Hopefully, he will listen to Chuck's advice and become a dominant force for the foreseeable future. If that kind of money can't motivate you, then nothing can.