The New York Knicks defeated the New Orleans Pelicans 123-117 on Saturday. It marked the latter squad’s sixth loss on the year, and the former’s fifth win.
That said, the end result was not the major takeaway coming out of this affair.
Rather, the thing that everyone couldn’t stop talking about after the fact was how rough Pelicans star Zion Williamson looked.
Williamson has been out of action up to this point while rehabbing a foot injury. He has yet to even be cleared to resume practicing with the team, and a timetable on his return seems totally up in the air at this point.
Equally troubling as the prognosis on Williamson’s comeback is how he looked at that Knicks game.
— Gonzalo Vázquez (@GVazquezNY) October 31, 2021
Many believe that the 21-year-old ballooned to more than 300 pounds after his surgery, and the visual evidence seems to back that up. His weight has been a continued topic of concern for years now, as he has missed a significant chunk of time in each of his three pro seasons as a result of various leg and foot issues.
Popular wisdom says that his 6-foot-7 frame has trouble handling all the weight that is being placed on it when Williamson moves.
A few weeks ago, photos surfaced showing just how big Williamson got at his peak. It was startling.
Now that’s a Halloween costume. https://t.co/xDN5ukIuKB
— Game 7 (@game7__) October 30, 2021
To be fair, when Williamson is healthy and playing, he is a force. Last season he averaged 27.0 points and 7.2 rebounds per game over 61 appearances. Despite the issues that veterans like Karl Malone and Charles Oakley have with him, he is a stud. He just needs to get in shape.
Will he ultimately be able to get right, return to form, and live up to the potential he displayed when dominated high school and college basketball for years? Time will tell.