Former number one overall pick Zion Williamson has had a rough start to his career, and the mental strain is apparently beginning to take its toll.
The New Orleans Pelicans forward hasn’t played since January 2nd while recovering from a right hamstring strain, which is just the latest in his long history of injuries. Williamson did not play at all during the 2021-22 season due to a fractured foot, and has played in just 114 games out of a possible 318 in the four years since he has been drafted.
Zion Williamson Not Himself Mentally, No Timetable For Return
"I can pretty much do everything. It's just a matter of the level that I was playing at before my hamstring. I don't want to go out there and be in my own head and affect the team when I can just be on the sideline supporting them more."
— Zion Williamsonpic.twitter.com/m6vUT46MeX
— ClutchPoints (@ClutchPointsApp) April 11, 2023
There is no problem when he is on the court. Williamson was averaging 25 points and 7 rebounds per game before suffering his latest ailment. It is keeping him on the floor that has been the issue.
Like any number one overall pick that doesn’t live up to the billing, Williamson has come under plenty of scrutiny. His weight has been an issue at certain times, which has let to questions about his dedication to the game.
According to Zion Williamson himself, being under such a harsh microscope has taken a toll on his mental health.
He won’t participate in the Pelicans’ play-in games, but he spoke with reporters on Tuesday about when he may return to action. While speaking mostly in the third person, he said that there were more problems with his mind than with his body.
“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 when I feel like Zion.”
Pelicans Will Have Decisions To Make On Williamson
“The Pelicans don't think Zion Williamson is even close to getting back on the floor.”
(Via @PatMcAfeeShow ) pic.twitter.com/Zb1ZFbvTdF
— NBACentral (@TheNBACentral) April 10, 2023
Williamson reiterated that he has no timeline for his return when asked. He says that he would be “in his own head” if he were to return to the court now.
The current injury is a re-aggrivation, and Williamson believes that he will be tentative in making certain moves, and that he doesn’t want to negatively impact his team with his presence on the floor.
There are plenty of question marks surrounding Zion WIlliamson, the Pelicans franchise, and the future of both sides. He has proven that he is a commodity when he can remain healthy, but paying top dollar for someone who has played in just over a third of his possible games may be something that New Orleans shies away from when the time comes to make a decision.
The Pelicans will take on the Thunder in the Play-In Tournament on Wednesday evening.
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