Former NBA icon Karl Malone holds some opinions about New Orleans Pelicans youngster Zion Williamson, and they aren’t all appraisals.
The 1st overall pick of 2019, Duke University star Zion Williamson was grabbed by the Pelicans with a massive potential for the future. Unfortunately, the young forward’s first professional year was riddled due to a meniscus injury which made him unavailable for the first three months, and could only make his NBA debut until January 2020.
Now continuing on his second season under Pelicans’ new head coach Stan Van Gundy, Williamson has only averaged under 30 minutes in 35 appearances, which has Karl Malone putting his criticism forward.
Karl Malone tells Zion Williamson to ‘get in shape’
While not reprimanding the 20-year-old’s abilities, Malone insisted that Williamson needs to get in shape to reach his full capabilities.
“I love Zion Williamson,” Malone said on The Players’ Tribune Knuckleheads podcast, “Zion needs to get into shape. If he don’t get in shape, we might not ever know his full potential.”
Furthermore, the Utah Jazz legend went back to reiterate how Williamson missed out the primary phase of his debut season and hopes he will finish the current one in one piece.
“I’m still waiting on him to play the whole damn season,” the 57-year-old went on, “news flash: We still waiting.”
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Moreover, the two time MVP pointed out the low minutes Williamson is averaging and insisted that someone his age should have more stamina on the court to average over 40 mpg.
“Zion needs to be averaging like 40 minutes per game… you’re a 21 year old kid… your a** shouldn’t be getting tired,” Malone added.
However, netizens weren’t too happy about Malone’s comments on Williamson, as NBA Twitter flooded with posts and memes, even drawing comparison with the former Jazz forward’s own stats in his younger days.
Williamson played for 35 minutes in his latest appearance for the Pelicans, scoring 32 points, 5 rebounds and 3 assists as they were defeated 118-102 by Jazz at the Vivint Smart Home Arena. With five wins and eight losses so far, Pelicans are currently 12th in the Western Conference and they will be face Jazz once again in their next matchup.