Zion Williamson Won't Play vs. Kings After Pelicans Eliminated from Playoffs

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistAugust 10, 2020

New Orleans Pelican's Zion Williamson warms up for the team's NBA basketball game against the Los Angeles Clippers on Saturday, Aug. 1, 2020, in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. (Kevin C. Cox/Pool Photo via AP)
Kevin C. Cox/Associated Press

Zion Williamson will miss Tuesday's game against the Sacramento Kings with right knee soreness.

Williamson was one of three players listed on the team's injury report, joining Jrue Holiday (right elbow contusion) and Brandon Ingram (right knee soreness).

The Pelicans have already been eliminated from postseason contention, as they have no path to finishing eighth or ninth in the Western Conference and thus can't make the play-in tournament. 

Fans may have seen the last of the 2019 No. 1 overall pick this season. New Orleans has two seeding games left, neither of which carry much stakes for the team with the playoffs no longer attainable.

As a result, playing Williamson for Thursday's finale with the Orlando Magic wouldn't make a ton of sense when adopting a pragmatic view.

The Pelicans have been carefully managing his workload all season, a process that went backward with the NBA's lengthy hiatus.

Williamson was on the court for a little more than 29 combined minutes in New Orleans' first two games after the restart. Even for what was effectively a postseason eliminator, the 6'6" forward played for 27:11 in Sunday's 122-113 defeat to the San Antonio Spurs.

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By comparison, Williamson logged 30-plus minutes in each of the Pelicans' final eight games before the league suspended the season.

Should this be it for the former Duke star's season, he lived up to the hype in his limited time on the floor. Williamson is averaging 22.5 points and 6.3 rebounds while shooting 58.3 percent from the field.