Pelicans' Zion Williamson Focused on Conditioning, Skills, Teammates Amid Hiatus

Adam Wells@adamwells1985Featured ColumnistJuly 2, 2020

New Orleans Pelicans forward Zion Williamson warms up before an NBA basketball game against the Chicago Bulls in Chicago, Thursday, Feb. 6, 2020. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)
Nam Y. Huh/Associated Press

New Orleans Pelicans rookie Zion Williamson has offered insight into what he did to stay on track during the NBA's hiatus. 

Speaking to reporters Thursday, Williamson said his regimen has included conditioning work and staying in contact with teammates. 

"I'm preparing myself by bonding with my teammates again and talking to them and saying, 'We're going to get through this.' ... I feel like I am in good shape right now," he said.

One of the questions raised in the wake of the NBA's finalizing a return-to-play plan last month involved Williamson's physical condition. 

He has done a good job of trying to silence any doubters, telling TNT's Ernie Johnson during a Twitter interview in April he's doing everything possible to stay ready (via ESPN's Andrew Lopez):

"Honestly, I'm ready now. I've been staying in shape, working on myself and just staying ready. You never know when the time is going to come when they're going to say, 'All right, let's resume.' I don't want to have to look around at my teammates and say, 'Sorry, guys, I'm not ready.' So I'm staying ready for my teammates."

The Pelicans are one of the 22 teams heading to Orlando, Florida, for the NBA season restart. They will play in the first nationally televised game on the schedule against the Utah Jazz on July 30. 

Williamson played in 19 games before the season was suspended. He is New Orleans' No. 2 scorer and rebounder with 23.6 points and 6.8 rebounds per contest. 

The Pelicans (28-36) head into the season restart as the No. 10 seed in the Western Conference. They trail the Memphis Grizzlies by 3.5 games for the West's final playoff spot.