Zion Williamson is a talented NBA prospect who has been linked to the New Orleans Pelicans all offseason. With Zion’s stepdad, Will Wade, as head coach of the team and Duke alum Dell Demps in charge of basketball operations, many are wondering what Zion will choose come draft night. The answer may not be straightforward- but it might involve some clever negotiation with both his father Chris and sister Hanna
Zion Williamson is expected to play for the New Orleans Pelicans this season. Zion suffered a knee injury and it was not clear when he would return. Read more in detail here: zion williamson injury.
1:38 P.M. ET
ESPN’s Andrew Lopez
Lee Anderson, Zion Williamson’s stepfather, said he expects Williamson to play this season, but knows that the choice must be taken in consultation with the New Orleans Pelicans’ medical team, taking into account not just the present but also the future.
Anderson made the remarks to “The Jordy Culotta Broadcast,” a Baton Rouge-based web show, on Tuesday.
When asked directly whether he felt Williamson would be able to return this season after missing the full season due to a broken right foot, Anderson replied it was a “difficult” question to answer but that he did.
“I’m expecting him to participate. If you asked Zion, I’m sure he would tell you the same thing “Anderson said. “But, with just a few games remaining, the enormity of what’s going on in New Orleans, and the chance to qualify for the play-in game and perhaps a seven-game series, that would be off the charts in the city of New Orleans. In New Orleans, it would be a bonus. With the current state of affairs, it would be a plus for Zion.”
“Do I think he’ll show up? Yes, I certainly do. That, however, is all my fault. That is just my opinion. There’s nothing else I can think of that would prevent him from doing so right now.”
The Pelicans have given Williamson permission to work one-on-one as he recovers. He did accompany the Pelicans on their current four-game road trip to continue working with the coaching staff. Anderson didn’t specify whether Williamson has done any more work, but he did say the Pelicans’ staff has discussed looking at the big picture.
“He’s in excellent shape,” Anderson said. “Speaking on behalf of the Pelicans’ coaching staff, and without naming names, they told me that they are only one player away from being where we need to be. That was enough to convince me that they are betting on Zion becoming healthy and ready for the long run.
“But, in the long haul, you have to be patient. In the short term, you never know when you’ll be offered with another chance in the long run or how long it’ll be. I’m the kind of man that believes in making the most of the situation at hand. Let’s deal with it right now, and then we’ll see what happens.”
Williamson and the Pelicans had hoped that he would be ready to play on opening night, but a series of setbacks have pushed back his schedule.
“I think some situations with the rehab didn’t originally go the way we or the team expected it to go,” Anderson said. “He was just unable to make the opening day tipoff, which we had hoped would be possible. The way things operated just went out of our control.”
Anderson feels Williamson is healthy right now and is eager to assist in any way he can “Assist in instilling the winning fabric and culture that New Orleans craves right now. I believe it is burning him up inside to go back on the court and help his team win basketball games.”
On March 22, Williamson shared a video of himself performing a between-the-legs slam after grabbing the ball off the backboard to his Instagram story. He wasn’t cleared by the team to conduct much weight-bearing workouts at the time. He was cleared to perform 1-on-1 the next day.
“I believe Zion, being the way he is and the competitor that he is, he just wants to do something new,” Anderson said. “He kept assuring us the whole time that he is a lot better than he has been and that we should believe him. Doctors were almost unanimous in their agreement with what he was expressing. We depend on the medical experts, our medical personnel, and the medical personnel of the Pelicans to make the best decisions for his future and career.”
Aside from the injuries, Anderson addressed the Williamson family’s stated dissatisfaction with their situation in New Orleans.
Anderson acknowledged the disappointments that come with losing, but said that his relationship with the Pelicans’ executive management has never been strained.
“I’m not sure where the rumblings, remarks, and misconceptions originated from. Someone is constantly referring to someone in Zion’s camp. According to sources. In Zion’s camp, there are just four sources. Zion’s mother (Sharonda Anderson). That’s me on the left. That’s Williamson’s younger brother, Noah. And there, my friends, is Zion. They aren’t sources if it didn’t originate from one of us “Anderson said.
“We have never provided information to anybody on Zion’s behalf. We’ll disregard anybody who claims that we stated anything. We’re having a great time in New Orleans. The cloth is appealing to us. We’ve been impressed with the Pelicans’ recent acquisitions. We’re ecstatic about it. We believe that, with the deals they’ve made with Zion on the mend, the future in New Orleans is extremely bright “especially right now.”
Anderson complimented New Orleans’ decision to hire Willie Green, who will be Williamson’s third coach in as many seasons with the team.
Anderson stated, “They hit a walk-off home run.” “They performed a fantastic job. Willie Green has stepped in and helped to right the ship. I’m not slamming any coaches; I’m only stating what’s going on right now. He’s new, he’s a young coach, and he’s clearly a player’s coach, because the players seem to believe in what he’s doing.”
Williamson was insistent that he wanted to return while performing his rehab work in Portland, according to Anderson, and the Pelicans made a push for the play-in tournament because of the atmosphere that Green was cultivating.
The Pelicans are presently the Western Conference’s No. 9 seed and would need to win two games to enter the playoffs. If they do, they will be seeded eighth and will face the top-seeded Phoenix Suns.
“The play-in game will provide us with valuable experience,” Anderson said. “If all the pieces are in place, even for the play-in, go ahead and lock it in and get that taken care of and win what we’re meant to win with everyone involved, and I’m just saying everybody because I believe we’re a dangerous team if everyone, everybody is included.”
“I was telling my wife yesterday that even if we were in eighth place and had to face Phoenix in the first round, I would relish the chance to watch how the whole team, the entire squad, responds to being in the playoffs. That would be fantastic to watch. I’d put my money on the Pelicans if I had any.”
Before the interview finished, Anderson said that there were no “bad spirits” between them and the organization, and that they were content with their current situation.
“However, putting Zion’s family name out there and implying that we are unhappy in New Orleans is inaccurate information,” Anderson added. “It’s also coming straight from the horse’s mouth. You don’t need to search elsewhere for further information since I can tell you right now that it’s untrue.”
The “pelicans standings” is a website that allows users to see the current standings of all NBA teams. The New Orleans Pelicans are currently sitting in 8th place with a record of 7-8.
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