NBA rumors: NBA executives concerned about Zion Williamson’s health

NBA executives on Zion Williamson: “I don’t know what to do with Zion,” one NBA executive told HoopsHype. “He’d be in the top three if I had any idea what to do with his health.” “Primarily, his injury history scared me off, or he would have been on my (top five) list,” another executive said.

More on Zion Williamson Conditioning

The comparison has never been lost on the Chuckster, who gave Zion Williamson some basic, yet very sound advice on his diet. “I’m going to put Zion on that diet I was on at one point,” said Barkley on his advice to the Pelicans star. “If it tastes good, spit it out.”
Andrew Lopez on Zion Williamson: He's going around in New Orleans high school basketball games right now. That's been his thing this last week. He looks like the player I saw last year. He is at his playing weight from last year. He is the guy who looks like if you see him without a hoodie, without all this extra baggy clothes on... He looks like the guy who played in games last season.
Andrew Lopez on the Pelicans: They are hopeful if (Zion Williamson) continues to do this, do the things that they've seen him do in the last two to three months, and how he's attacked this rehab, they are confident this will be a blip.
On a road trip to Washington, Williamson was heckled by Wizards fans who chanted, "ZI-ON'S CHUN-KY!" according to the Washington Post. Williamson was receiving so much criticism online, Swin Cash, the Pelicans vice president of basketball operations and team development, defended Williamson on Twitter. "Imagine photoshopping a 21yr old every chance you get and leaving harsh comments for likes," Cash wrote on Tuesday. "Whew the clown behavior really is shocking Especially from adults!"
Over the following few days, fans would go crazy trying to guess his current weight, but ESPN's Tim MacMahon seems to have found the answer. According to his sources, Zion is at 330 pounds right now, which puts him among the heaviest players in NBA history. "The number I've heard from several places about Zion is 70 pounds higher than 260. You do the math."
The Pelicans have poured resources, time and energy to protect Williamson's health. They have changed members of the staff and even changed some of their culinary practices in an attempt to support him. They have talked with him about protecting his body from extra hits. Griffin has stood up for him privately, sending video clips to the league to illustrate how Williamson was getting beat up. When that didn't work, Griffin ripped NBA referees publicly for not protecting Williamson and was fined $50,000.
I don’t know how much he currently weighs or if team officials have a target weight they want him to hit before he’s cleared. Based on what I’ve seen, I can say he doesn’t look like someone who’s severely out of shape. And even if he is in fantastic shape, the team will want him to go through a series of practices to see how his foot responds to a ramp-up in his workload and physical contact against other players.
Zion Williamson struggled during the NBA's restart in August as questions continued to plague him about his fitness. Williamson, however, has appeared more explosive in his lone preseason game so far this season. Williamson had 26 points, 11 rebounds and two assists while shooting 11 free throws in 33 minutes. "I was told that Zion, and I don't think they really wanted to publicize where he was physically when he came back to the bubble, but I have heard that it's in excess of 25 pounds that he's lost from where he was in the bubble to where he is now," said Brian Windhorst on his podcast. "He is not as svelte by any stretch of the imagination, but he definitely is moving better."
For New Orleans Pelicans rookie Zion Williamson, it's time to turn the page to next season and focus on getting better -- with his game and his body. "I'll talk to my coaches and see what I need to do better from their point of view," Williamson said Thursday morning. "Talk to my player development coaches as well, see what I need to do better from their point of view. Just work on every part of my game and work on getting my body where it needs to be."
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