Pelicans VP David Griffin addresses Williamson’s well being challenges

Pelicans VP David Griffin addresses Williamson’s well being challenges
Pelicans VP David Griffin addresses Williamson’s well being challenges

Zion Williamson missed the Play-In event sport in opposition to the Oklahoma Metropolis Thunder.

METAIRIE, La. (AP) — Pelicans basketball operations chief David Griffin expressed confidence Friday in crew personnel accountable for managing participant well being after star ahead Zion Williamson missed 48 or extra video games for the third time in his 4 NBA seasons.

“We’ve bought extremely good individuals doing it,” Griffin asserted when requested how excessive his confidence remained within the crew coaching and medical workers. “We’ve bought to do a greater job of translating these issues to availability.”

The Pelicans’ season ended Wednesday night time with a loss to Oklahoma Metropolis in a Western Convention play-in matchup that was additionally the forty sixth straight sport missed by Williamson since he injured his proper hamstring on Jan. 2.

The day earlier than the sport, Williamson stated he was now not injured however added that he was not able to play as a result of he didn’t “really feel like Zion. ”

He was dominated out of the lineup for Wednesday’s play-in sport. But, he carried out on-court work throughout pregame warmups, concluding with a windmill dunk which solely spawned extra questions on why he couldn’t have been activated.

Griffin sought to reply these questions as he summed up the lately concluded season.

“He wasn’t bodily cleared to play,” Griffin stated. “He was enjoying one-on-none. He went up and windmill dunked pregame. That’s not the talent set that makes you able to enjoying expert, five-on-five basketball. He was by no means cleared to play five-on-five basketball. So, for individuals to now say, ‘He selected to not play basketball,’ that’s nonsense.

“He was by no means cleared to even play three-on-three full court docket,” Griffin added.

In three of Williamson’s 4 NBA seasons, he has not performed in as many as 30 video games. Solely in his second season did he play as many as 61 video games. He didn’t play in any respect within the 2021-22 season due to a foot damage.

But the Pelicans signed him to a five-year extension value between $193 million and $231 million, relying on incentives, that takes impact subsequent season. New Orleans is banking on the potential Williamson has proven within the 114 video games through which he has performed, averaging almost 26 factors and 7 rebounds whereas hitting 60.5% of his pictures, typically in spectacular vogue.

Griffin stated managing the well being of the 6-foot-6, 285-pound Williamson has been a studying course of for each the crew and participant.

“An enormous a part of it’s on him,” Griffin stated. “There’s a lot he can do higher. And he would, I feel, let you know that. He’s definitely owned as much as that.

“We have to do a greater job of perhaps analyzing the entire scenario high to backside,” Griffin continued. “We’re not deliberately not doing the proper issues. So, I feel discovering a approach to put him in the very best scenario to succeed is necessary and his participation in that could be a massive half as nicely.”

In the meantime, Griffin praised guard CJ McCollum and ahead Larry Nance Jr. for taking part in by means of accidents. McCollum wants surgical procedure to restore his proper thumb, and Griffin stated the veteran guard additionally completed out the season with a torn labrum in his proper (capturing) shoulder. Nance missed time due to a left ankle sprain however returned whereas nonetheless hurting to assist the Pelicans’ late-season postseason push.

“CJ and Larry needed to ship a message that that is what you do,” Griffin stated, including that McCollum didn’t need his shoulder ailment disclosed earlier than the tip of the season as a result of he didn’t wish to threat any opponents taking “low cost pictures” at it.

When Williamson was largely wholesome throughout the first 10 weeks of the season, the Pelicans rose to the highest of the Western Convention. After his damage, and with high-scoring wing Brandon Ingram additionally out, New Orleans plummeted down the standings. Even after Ingram’s return, the Pelicans struggled for a number of video games and fell outdoors the highest 10 within the convention.

However as Ingram rounded again into kind, New Orleans gained 9 of its final 12 video games to complete as a No. 9 seed.

“In that locker room is the No. 1 seed within the West,” Nance stated. “Whether or not we are able to get on the court docket on the similar time or not is a unique query. However the expertise is clearly there. However clearly dependability is the difficulty.”

Griffin expressed comparable sentiments.

“The core and the nucleus of what we’ve got right here may be very, excellent,” Griffin stated. “We haven’t seen it play sufficient minutes collectively to say, ‘Sure, this can be a championship-caliber roster.’”