Zion Williamson finds himself on the hot seat; is his situation salvageable?

NBA Zion Williamson (Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports)
NBA Zion Williamson (Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports) /

Zion Williamson is now under fire; is his situation with the New Orleans Pelicans salvageable? 

Having the No. 1 overall pick in the NBA Draft is never a guarantee. Sometimes teams blow picks by taking the wrong player, other teams get unlucky and lose players to injuries or even trades on draft night. The case for the 2019 first overall pick Zion Williamson may be different though.

Players past and present are speaking up about the 21-year-old and it’s not looking great for Zion’s reputation as a professional. There’s no doubt he has God-given talent that others would dream to have. Still, the question arises as to if the New Orleans Pelicans seriously want to keep him for the future.

Long-time member of the Portland Trail Blazers CJ McCollum was traded before the deadline to the New Orleans Pelicans. He competed last weekend in the 3-point competition at All-Star weekend. He spoke with the crew at Inside the NBA and had this to say about Zion.

"“I haven’t had conversations with him directly. I’ve spoken to some people close to him and look forward to sitting down with him sooner than later. I know about as much as you do.”"

Over the summer, McCollum was elected President of the National Basketball Players Association. Clearly, he is going to be a professional here and is trying to represent the NBA and Pelicans well. Ask him off-air how he feels and you might get a different answer.

Zion has not played a single game this season after fracturing his right foot that needed surgery over the summer. Rumors spread about him possibly making a return, but there have been setbacks and nobody has any idea when he will make a return. He is currently rehabbing away from the team right now.

His former Pelicans teammate and retired NBA player JJ Redick is an analyst for ESPN. He went on First Take and did not speak too highly of Zion. The pair spent two seasons together in the NBA.

"“There’s a responsibility you have as an athlete when you play a team sport to be fully invested. You’re fully invested you body, you’re fully invested in your work and you’re fully invested in your teammates. That is your responsibility, and we have not seen that from Zion.”"

This is not the first time Redick has spoken out about Zion either.

"“This is something I addressed with Zion in front of the team. This is going back to his rookie year.”"

Williamson has played in 85 games in his short career and in those games, he averaged 25.7 points, 7.0 rebounds, and 3.2 assists. He appeared in 24 games during the 2019-20 season and 61 last year where he earned his first and only All-Star selection so far.

Go watch a highlight reel of Zion and you will know why he was picked first overall. He’s 6-foot-6 and 280 pounds of raw athleticism. A nagging foot injury is keeping him off the court this season but his actions seem to be what most are criticizing.

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Past and Present players like Redick and McCollum have spoken out about their encounters or lack thereof and how they have affected the organization. Zion seems to have some explaining to do and may have to win over his teammates and coaches once he is back with the team in the locker room.