It’s been a tough start to Zion Williamson's NBA career, specifically when it comes to injuries and the inability to stay on the court. After all, the 23-year-old Pelicans forward played in only 114 of a possible 328 games in his first four pro seasons.
But Williamson has been open and candid about his preparation in the build-up to the new league year.
Now, 10 games into this season’s schedule, Williamson has managed to stay on the floor, making eight appearances, but he admits it’s been tough to “buy in” at times.
“Last year, we had a team meeting, and we brought up some things I can do better, especially with buying into the program. Right now, it’s tough. I’m taking a little bit of a backseat right now,” Williamson told The Athletic's Will Guillory. “I’m trusting the process. I’m trying my best to buy in right now.”
New Orleans currently sits at 4-6 on the season but has dealt with its fair share of injuries to this point. CJ McCollum was diagnosed with a collapsed right lung, which has left them shorthanded at the guard position.
But in terms of Williamson, there’s obviously some concern when you hear a player of his caliber, a former No. 1 pick who was linked to trade rumors in the offseason, make such a comment. He deserves a tip of the cap for being brutally honest, but the Pelicans shouldn’t want their franchise player “taking a little bit of a backseat” or “trying” to buy in.
Through eight appearances, Williamson averages 21.6 points, 6.5 rebounds, 4.1 assists and has shot 51.5% from the field.