Zion Williamson, the No. 1 pick in the 2019 NBA Draft, is preparing for his second pro season without minutes restrictions.
The New Orleans Pelicians star, who coped with a knee injury during his rookie season that limited his playing time, is looking forward to expanded time on the court in the upcoming season.
As a rookie, Williamson played 27.8 minutes and averaged 22.5 points in his 24 games. He was sidelined for the first three months of the season while recuperating from a knee injury.
The Pelicans restricted his playing time upon his return in an effort to minimize injury risks.
Now, Zion Williamson, speaking to reporters at the team’s first practice this season, admitted he’s eager to showcase his skills under more normal conditions without the quick exits due to minutes restrictions.
“I think it will definitely be different. You know, it’s tough, man. When you’re going through rehab and you’re finally able to step on the court, three minutes goes by, four minutes goes by and AHHHHHH. You get subbed out. It was a lot. I tried to make the most of the situation. I think I did the best that I possibly could. But it’s going to be a lot different. From what I know now, there are no restrictions. None.”
Defensive-first focus for Zion Williamson, teammates
Under new Pelicans coach Stan Van Gundy, the revamped squad is focusing on overhauling and upgrading its defense.
Williamson said he’s ready for the challenge.
“I think it’s a great quality because that’s just how I was trained,” Williamson told nola.com. “Always going to be on you. Always expecting greatness from you. Never satisfied. Coming to the gym with the idea that we’re going to get better today. It may be tough. But always coming into the gym with the idea that we’re going to get better today.”