Zion Williamson was just getting into a groove in his rookie season when the league shut down due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The New Orleans Pelicans rookie didn’t make his debut until mid-January after undergoing arthroscopic surgery in his knee in October. He appeared in just 19 games before the NBA started its hiatus on March 11, but averaged an impressive 23.6 points and 6.8 rebounds per contest.
While it’s extremely frustrating for the former Duke star and reigning No. 1 overall draft pick to have to stop playing again, Williamson knows it’s not the worst thing for him personally.
With all this extra time, he can ensure that his knee is fully recovered.
"It sucks because I had just come back after sitting out three, four months without playing basketball and playing in an NBA game," Williamson said while speaking with TNT’s Ernie Johnson on Monday. “As soon as I felt like I was getting going, this happens. It sucks from that perspective. But from a being smart perspective, I think it's a good thing. It gives me extra time to work on my knee and just work on my body overall."
“I’m staying ready for my teammates”
Williamson said he has been hiding out at home in New Orleans during the coronavirus pandemic, as his city has been one of the hardest hit.
There were more than 1 million confirmed cases of the coronavirus in the United States as of Tuesday afternoon, according to The New York Times, and more than 52,000 confirmed deaths attributed to the virus. Louisiana had more than 27,000 cases, a large portion of which came from the New Orleans area.
The 19-year-old, like the rest of the basketball world, has no idea if the league will resume its season at all. The NBA is planning to allow teams to open their practice facilities early next month, though that date has already been pushed back once, but is still non-committal about any potential restart. Some, like Golden State Warriors coach Steve Kerr, are already acting like the season is done for good.
Williamson isn’t just sitting around and waiting to see what happens. He’s been working out on his hoop at home, making sure he’s prepared if the season does in fact resume.
"Honestly, I'm ready now," Williamson said. "I've been staying in shape, working on myself and just staying ready. We never know when the time is going to come when they're going to say, ‘Alright, let's resume.' I don't want to have to look around at my teammates and say, 'Sorry, guys, I'm just not ready.' So I'm staying ready for my teammates."
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