Zion Williamson Being Called Out By Teammates And The Media

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Zion Williamson was unavailable to play for the New Orleans Pelicans in the team’s play-in game on Wednesday night, and his absence is drawing concerns and ire from the media, as well as one of his high-profile teammates.

Williamson has not played since January 2nd as he recovers from a hamstring injury, which is just the latest in a laundry list of ailments that he has suffered to begin his NBA career. He has played in just 114 of a possible 318 regular season games in his four years in the league, missing one season entirely.

Zion Williamson Criticized For Missing Games

In a recent interview, Williamson was asked about his situation and about a potential target return date. He responded by saying that he felt “fine” physically, but he was mentally not ready to return to game action yet. He said that he would be timid in trying to not re-injure himself, and that he didn’t want to negatively effect the team.

The Pelicans could have used him on Wednesday. The game was lost with the team’s inability to make free throws, but despite those troubles, New Orleans only lost by four points in the end. Before going down in January, Williamson was averaging 26 points per game, and his presence on the court would have helped.

There were notable quotes made after the game and on Thursday about him missing time.

Former NBA Player Speaks Out On Williamson

Following the game, Pelicans guard CJ McCollum was asked about what it would take for the team to be successful. “We need our best players on the court,” was his response.

Whether that was a shot at Zion Williamson is questionable. McCollum is closer to the situation than anyone being in the same locker room, so he should know the exact health situation and whether or not Williamson is actually ready for game action. It is apparent who he is talking about, but the tone and exact context are unknown.

Former NBA player Stephen Jackson was a bit more forward with his comments.

“Go ahead and give it a shot. Then, if you’re hurt and you can’t go, that’s one thing. But I think your teammates will respect you more if you try to give it a shot. This is the playoffs. It’s not preseason.”

The Pelicans are now eliminated from contention this season. Williamson’s five-year extensions kicks in at the start of next season.

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