Haynes: Zion Williamson 'Pissed' over Minutes Restriction in Pelicans vs. Jazz

Adam Wells@adamwells1985Featured ColumnistJuly 31, 2020

New Orleans Pelicans' Zion Williamson in the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Minnesota Timberwolves, Sunday, March 8, 2020, in Minneapolis. The Pelicans won 120-107. (AP Photo/Stacy Bengs)
Stacy Bengs/Associated Press

The New Orleans Pelicans' decision to limit Zion Williamson to 15 minutes during Thursday's 106-104 loss to the Utah Jazz has reportedly upset the star rookie. 

Appearing on The Dan Patrick Show, Yahoo Sports' Chris Haynes noted that Williamson was "pissed" about his minutes restriction (starts at 37:24 mark):

After the loss, Pelicans head coach Alvin Gentry told reporters the decision to limit Williamson's minutes was made by the team's medical staff. 

Per The Athletic's Sam Amick, New Orleans' reasoning for holding Williamson back was driven in large part because he had only practiced in five-on-five situations four times, including Tuesday and Wednesday, since the league was shut down on March 11. 

"Nah, they weren't holding me back," Williamson said after the game. "Yeah, I did want to be out there but just working my way back into my flow. That's all it is."

There were questions going into the game if Williamson would play after he was away from the NBA campus in Florida from July 16-24 with an excused absence because of a family emergency. 

Williamson wound up starting against the Jazz after officially being listed as a game-time decision. He scored 13 points on 6-of-8 shooting but remained on the bench for the final 7:19 of the game after being replaced by E'Twaun Moore. 

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The Pelicans were outscored 17-8 in the fourth quarter after Williamson was removed. The loss dropped their record 28-37 overall, four games behind the Memphis Grizzlies for the No. 8 spot in the Western Conference playoffs.