Pelicans' Zion Williamson: No Restrictions for 2020-21 Season After Knee Injury

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistDecember 6, 2020

New Orleans Pelicans' Zion Williamson (1) brings the ball up court against the Memphis Grizzlies during the second half of an NBA basketball game Monday, Aug. 3, 2020 in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis, Pool)
Ashley Landis/Associated Press

New Orleans Pelicans star Zion Williamson is ready to show the world what kind of player he can be when healthy.

"Me and [Pelicans] coach [Stan] Van Gundy have talked and from what I know now, there are no restrictions. None," Williamson said, per Andrew Lopez of ESPN.

"When I'm healthy and competing, I'm just a different kind of player," he told reporters when asked what he is looking to prove in his second season. He suggested he will be a better all-around contributor and show he is the "player everyone fell in love with."

New Orleans Pelicans @PelicansNBA

"When I'm healthy, I'm just a different kind of player" @Zionwilliamson on what he plans to prove this season https://t.co/fbeigtKsyF

According to Lopez, Van Gundy said the second-year playmaker has "no limitations in practice" and passed his conditioning test with ease.

That Williamson could be even better than what he showed as a rookie is a scary thought for the rest of the league.

The Duke product, who New Orleans selected with the No. 1 overall pick of the 2019 NBA draft, averaged 22.5 points, 6.3 rebounds and 2.1 assists a night while shooting 58.3 percent from the field. The only thing that held him back and largely prevented him from competing with Ja Morant for Rookie of the Year was his health.

Williamson played a mere 24 games and didn't even make his season debut until Jan. 22.

It was clear that night how special he can be when he dropped 22 points and made all four of his three-pointers in a loss to the San Antonio Spurs. He unleashed plenty of high-flying dunks and impressive rebounding performances while hinting at his potential the rest of the season, but his ability to stay healthy and turn the corner will likely determine New Orleans' playoff chances.

The Pelicans no longer have Jrue Holiday running the show, but the combination of Williamson, Brandon Ingram, Lonzo Ball, Eric Bledsoe, JJ Redick, Steven Adams and Jaxson Hayes is enough to compete for a postseason spot.

Williamson and Ingram are the foundational cornerstones of the franchise, and the former is poised to put on a show in 2020-21 if he stays healthy.


The latest in the sports world, emailed daily.