The New Orleans Pelicans are currently last place in the Western Conference due to the absence of All-Star Forward Zion Williamson this season, among other team issues. Williamson was diagnosed with a broken foot in the offseason, and his recovery process is one of the many mishaps of the David Griffin era in New Orleans. Zion was cleared for full-contact basketball activity a few weeks ago. Still, the Pelicans have yet to share a timetable for his much-anticipated return, leaving the basketball world disappointed as Zion is box office entertainment for the Pelicans and the NBA.
It appears that the lack of clarity on Zion's return may not be a blatant withholding of information. The reason for the uncertainty is possibly because the team itself does not know when Williamson will be in good enough shape to take the NBA floor and play at game speed. According to ESPN's Tim McMahon, Zion Williamson is far from the ideal playing weight for a player listed at 6'8.
"The number i'm hearing is seventy pounds from 260." - Tim McMahon via The Lowe Post
Weight and injuries have always been an issue for Zion, and many believe that his explosive style of play at his size continues to burden his body in ways it cannot handle. Zion used that unique combination of size and athleticism to finish seventh in the league in scoring last year, averaging over 27 ppg on over 60% shooting. These are Shaquille O'Neal kind of numbers, but right now, it's not just his stats that are close to that of The Big Diesel; his weight is reportedly also around Shaq's during his playing days.
Zion is a great player but his biggest weakness is his availability. He started his NBA career with injuries and eventually worked his way to All-Star form, but sustained excellence will be impossible for the young star to achieve if he cannot keep his weight down. When you're young, and in high school or college, it's understandable when a player cannot keep his weight down. However, having all the resources could mean that this is a matter of discipline rather than a nagging injury bug. If Zion wants to be back on an NBA floor anytime soon, he will have to address both his injury and his weight.