Despite making Zion Williamson the No. 1 pick in the 2019 NBA Draft, the relationship between the two-time All-Star and the New Orleans Pelicans has included plenty of tension. As we know, missing the playoffs in three of the past four seasons likely hasn’t helped, but neither has Williamson’s demoralizing injury history.
Having played just a total of 114 games since being drafted four seasons ago, Williamson has tested the patience of the team’s front office, with the Pelicans having yet to reap any benefits of landing the superstar talent.
Some have strongly suggested Williamson, who comes in at 6-foot-6, and a listed weight of 284 pounds, needs to take his fitness more seriously and ideally shed some additional weight to help reduce the burden on his lower half. Yet, the Pelicans have experienced another reason to be concerned with their soon-to-be 23-year-old.
According to Christian Clark of NOLA.com, Williamson and the team’s vice president of player care didn’t always get along. The relationship was initially strained during Williamson’s rookie season, where the tension got so bad that Williamson “refused to work with Adrian Nelson at times.”
When healthy, the former Duke star has proven he can be one of the best players in basketball. The issue is Williamson has never played more than 61 games in a season. If we take that year out, he’s never played more than 29 games.
We may not know the specifics behind why Williamson didn’t want to work with Nelson, but it’s not hard to understand why the Pelicans have tried to put in extra effort to get their franchise cornerstone back on the court.