Coach K: Zion Williamson Wasn't in Playing Shape for NBA Summer League

Adam Wells@adamwells1985Featured ColumnistJuly 13, 2019

New Orleans Pelicans' Zion Williamson runs upcourt during the team's NBA summer league basketball game against the New York Knicks on Friday, July 5, 2019, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/Steve Marcus)
Steve Marcus/Associated Press

Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski believes Zion Williamson shouldn't have played for the New Orleans Pelicans during the NBA Summer League. 

Speaking to Forbes' Adam Zagoria, Krzyzewski explained why he didn't think Williamson was ready to step on the court so soon after being selected No. 1 overall by the Pelicans.

"No, I thought really he never should've played just because he's been on this circuit of awards, the ESPYs, everything," he said. "I don't think he's in the playing shape or the mental shape to play."

Krzyzewski isn't the first person who has brought up Williamson's conditioning in the wake of his brief summer-league appearance. 

ESPN's Seth Greenberg said on Thursday's First Take that the Pelicans rookie sensation is "not in shape" and looks "significantly overweight" since he last played for Duke during the NCAA tournament in March.

Even before Williamson committed to Duke, ESPN's Jonathan Givony and Mike Schmitz wrote he looked "heavy and out of shape" during a 2017 appearance at USA Basketball camp. 

Williamson's summer stint lasted just nine minutes until he suffered a bruised knee after making contact with New York Knicks rookie RJ Barrett. 

David Griffin, New Orleans executive vice president of basketball operations, said the decision to shut Williamson down was precautionary and he will move forward "without issue."

Despite the concerns about Williamson, he's proved in the past it's something he can overcome to be a dominant force on the basketball court. The 19-year-old went from being heavy at USA Basketball camp to being named National Player of the Year in his lone season at Duke. 

Williamson's busy offseason came to an end as soon as the Pelicans drafted him June 20. He has three months to get back in peak physical condition before the 2019-20 season begins. 

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