Early Tuesday we wrote about Zion Williamson taking part in 5 on 5 during New Orleans Pelicans’ practice for the first time. Now head coach Alvin Gentry is talking about the amount of playing time that Williamson will see when he enters the action.
While an exact return date hasn’t been set, have that January 20th marked in your calendars and don’t make plans. Notably, let’s take a look at what Gentry says about the playing time he allows the rookie once he does return.
— New Orleans Pelicans (@PelicansNBA) January 7, 2020
Obviously Williamson won’t be able to go out and start playing full minutes from the jump. Some people have already figured upon this. Others I speak to think they Pelicans will play him quite a bit. However this quote from the head coach should be pretty telling.
“It’s not worth the gamble of just trying to make this thing something that it’s not right now,” Gentry said. “We want to make sure that everything is in place and we’ll take our time. Obviously he’s not going to come out and be a 30-minute-a-game guy. It’s going to be a slow process to get him to the minutes that everybody wants to see him.”
Therefore, don’t expect eye-popping box scores here in January or February. Possibly once we start to approach March Madness – a month that Williamson should know well – he will begin to get big time minutes and thus the stats to accompany it.
For those like me hoping to see him a lot in the early going, we should just be happy that it’s going to happen and soon.