Zion Williamson was one of the best players in the NBA last season at just 20 years old. When he entered his third professional season that year, there seemed no limit to what he could achieve. While his New Orleans Pelicans were believed to have only one outside shot to a playoff spot, Williamson had a chance at every single award: he felt he would likely create his second straight All-Star team if he had All-NBA honors are supposed to be pushing. had a chance to lead the league in scoring and could even be considered a Darkhorse MVP candidate.
Instead, Williamson suffered a foot injury this summer, had an operation and still hasn’t made his season debut. The pelicans made the injury even more mysterious by not disclosing it until training camp started and then giving multiple schedules for his return. The first quarter of the season is now in the rearview mirror and New Orleans was one of the worst teams in the league without Zion.
Williamson has been pushing his way back into the game, but he suffered another setback this week when pain in his foot delayed his full return to training. The star striker showed up for the New Orleans game against the Houston Rockets on Sunday evening and watched his team lose 118-108. Even when he wasn’t playing, Williamson was still the biggest topic of conversation after the game.
A photo of Williamson entering the tunnel sparked another discussion about his weight.
Concerns about Williamson’s weight date back to his college days at Duke. It feels like we get a photo of Zion that looks terrifyingly large at least a couple of times a year. Before you worry about Williamson’s appearance, think about the following:
1. Zion has always been difficult. When we saw him at the USA Basketball Junior Minicamp in the fall of 2017, Williamson checked in early in his senior year of high school at £ 6,6,272. A year later, Duke listed him as a real newbie at £ 285. At the time, only 7’3 Center Boban Marjanovic was a heavy NBA player. Zion’s weight didn’t stop him from having a dominant one-and-done season for the Blue Devils to finish easily number 1 overall in the 2019 NBA draft.
2. Of course, Zion is difficult right now. He’s still recovering from foot surgery! He has not been able to do any serious cardio in months at this point as New Orleans is cautiously addressing his injury. He will be back in shape as soon as he gets to play.
3. He benefits from Zion’s weight. He was the best finisher in the NBA last year on the edge, scoring 70 percent of his field goals within a meter. Opposing defenses know Williamson doesn’t have a constant three-point shot or a developed middle distance game, but he’s so good at partially intimidating himself inside because no one can match his size and strength. Williamson’s weight is a key factor in its success.
The author who originally tweeted the photo of Williamson on Sunday eventually deleted the tweet due to too many negative comments.
I deleted Zion Williamson’s tweet. Too many angry comments, tweets of quotes, and by staying awake, contributed to the problem. Couldn’t take it anymore.
In the end, he’s only 21 years old. Wish him the best when he returns from his foot injury. Bright career ahead.
– Steve Helwick (@s_helwick) December 6, 2021
Don’t worry about Zion’s weight. He never looked like your typical basketball player. We think NBA stars are lanky and skinny, but that was never Zion’s physique. It’s not for nothing that we once called it the “refrigerator with wings”. Big and stocky and powerful, Williamson has a body no one in NBA history can really compare to.
In his sophomore year in the league, Williamson averaged 27 points per game with 60 percent shooting from the field. He’s not a perfect player – injuries are a problem and his weight holds him back defensively – but he is really damn good when he’s healthy. Hopefully Zion can get back on the pitch soon and change the discussion of his weight to arguably the brightest young star in the NBA when he’s available.