Zion Williamson's talent and freakish athleticism on the basketball court are undeniable. His health and ability to stay healthy, on the other hand, aren't undeniable... or should it be "are deniable?" I'm not sure about the double negative usage there.
But since you didn't come here for grammar dilemmas, I'll cut to the chase: Williamson apparently put on a few pounds this offseason, and then put on a few more. The latest from Bleacher Report's Jake Fischer, who got the inside scoop on how the league views the Pelicans' potential negotiations regarding the future of their star forward, is that Williamson exceeded the triple century mark on the scales.
Fischer writes that Williamson "reached north of 300 pounds this offseason," according to his sources, and that one observer who "knows Zion at 280" did not think the forward looked like his 2020-21 listed weight of 280 and change. One Western Conference exec told Fischer that issues with weight lead to even more injury concern, especially given that Williamson will miss the start of the season after a "two-week-plus setback in his return from offseason foot surgery." Adding weight to an already-massive frame that's dealing with foot issues, for a high-flying player? Uh oh.
Images of Williamson at media day and in a new commercial for Mountain Dew began the rumors and speculation that he had picked up a few pounds, and Fischer's report adds fuel to that fire.
Prior to the 2020-21 season, ESPN's Brian Windhorst reported that Williamson had trimmed 25 pounds off his frame from the Orlando bubble to the start of the season, which allowed him to move around much better. Has he gained all that back, plus a lot more? Fischer's report would indicate that this is the case.
The exact timeline for Williamson's return is unknown, and Fischer says that there's an expectation he'll be on a minutes restriction when he does return, something that the big man did not enjoy all too much when he was eased into action his rookie year after a torn meniscus injury. When he does return, and if he can play up to par with how he performed last season, he'll provide a massive boost for a playoff-seeking Pelicans team. Despite the loss of Lonzo Ball, the Pels retooled around their star duo of Williamson and Brandon Ingram, adding veteran big man Jonas Valanciunas — who they've already extended — and dynamic scorer Devonte' Graham.
Williamson was a force last season, averaging 27 points, 7.2 rebounds and 3.7 assists per game with an extremely efficient 61.1 percent clip from the field en route to his first All-Star nod.