Pelicans HC: Zion Williamson's Minutes Will Be Discussed If NBA Season Resumes

Adam Wells@adamwells1985Featured ColumnistMay 2, 2020

NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA - MARCH 06: Zion Williamson #1 of the New Orleans Pelicans drives with the ball against the Miami Heat during a game at the Smoothie King Center on March 06, 2020 in New Orleans, Louisiana. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images)
Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images

New Orleans Pelicans head coach Alvin Gentry isn't sure if Zion Williamson will have a minutes restriction in games if the NBA is able to resume the regular season. 

Speaking to reporters on a conference call, Gentry was asked about potentially monitoring playing time for his star rookie:

“We'll have those conversations. Obviously, his health will be the No. 1 priority, but the restriction was really off after his first five-six games. So, he was playing the minutes that he would normally play, considering with any situation really. But, it will be something that we talk about when we do resume and as far as how it looks for Zion from a minute standpoint, and we'll do that really with some of the other players."

Gentry initially said in January the Pelicans would be "overly cautious" with Williamson before he made his professional debut. He played a combined total of 39 minutes in his first two games against the San Antonio Spurs and Denver Nuggets

In a 17-game span from Jan. 26-March 8, Williamson averaged 30.9 minutes and played more than 30 minutes in each of the final eight games during that stretch. 

The NBA season was suspended on March 11 because of the coronavirus pandemic. It's uncertain when the league will be able to return, though ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reported Thursday an "overwhelming majority" of high-level officials are optimistic about resuming play at some point to finish this season. 

After entering the league with astronomical expectations, Williamson was living up to the hype through the first 19 games of his career. The former Duke star was averaging 23.6 points, 6.8 rebounds and 2.2 assists per game when the season was suspended.