New Orleans Pelicans VP Proclaims ‘A Big Part’ Of Zion Williamson’s Lack Of Availability ‘Is On Him’

The New Orleans Pelicans’ season ended Wednesday with a home play-in loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder. While the Pelicans did their best to keep it together without star player Zion Williamson, his absence is very noticeable, and it finally caught up them in the end. Williamson played only 29 games this season, this after missing all of last season as he recovered from various injuries.

In his four-year NBA career, Williamson the 2019 No. 1 overall pick has only played more than 30 games once, in his second season when he played in 61 games. Pelicans vice president of basketball operations David Griffin told reporters on Friday that some of the onus is on Zion to prepare better. Griffin also said the team needs to do the necessary things to help him get back on the court. 


“I wish I could pinpoint the answer,  I think a big part is him,” Griffin told reporters. “I think there is a lot he can do better. And he would, I think, tell you that. I think we need to do a better job examining the whole situation top to bottom a little bit better. I think putting him in the best position to succeed is important. And I think his participation is a big part of that.”

Zion’s Comments Stirred The Pot

Prior to Wednesday’s play-in game loss to the Thunder, Williamson, who has played in just 114 career games, was asked if he could be ready for the playoffs. 

“Physically I’m fine, now it’s just a matter of when I feel like Zion. I know the atmosphere I’d be entering based off like the playoff experience. So now it’s just a matter of time when I feel like Zion.”

That’s a weird statement when considering Williamson was seen in practice doing windmill dunks and basically putting on a dunk contest during a pregame workout. 

And while he looked as if he could play, Griffin said Williamson hadn’t even been cleared for basketball activities. 

Teammate CJ McCollum Sounded Off 

Following the team’s play-in game loss, McCollum sounded off to reporters about players needing to be available. It sounded like a dig at Zion. 

“Availability is important, man. We’ve got to be available,” McCollum told reporters during his postgame media session. “We’ve got to do what we need to do off the court in terms of preparation, in terms of getting treatment, in terms of getting the right sleep, the right type of hydration, having the right type of diet.”

McCollum also talked about how he’s been dealing with a thumb injury and battled through it. 

During an appearance Saturday on “Stephen A.’s World” podcast, McCollum tried to clear up what he meant by his remarks after the loss to Thunder, saying, “There’s misconceptions about how the team feels, how the organization feels, how the fans feel about Zion.” He also stated the entire organization is supportive of Williamson but just wants him on the floor. 

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