The last 2 games Rookie star Zion Williamson has only played up to 5 minutes per quarter. During these shortened minutes Zion has struggled and succeeded. However, he voiced that he was frustrated with the lack of minutes. In a close game against the Grizzlies head coach Alvin Gentry finally decided to let Zion play. Although he started by playing 5 minutes quarters, by the 4th Zion was let loose.
Prior to the 4th quarter, the Pelicans took several double-digit leads against the Grizzlies when Zion was on the court. However, when Zion would leave the Pelican’s lead would always seem to shrink. At the end of the 3rd quarter, Zion only played 15 minutes and the Pelicans lost their lead.
Head coach Alvin Gentry then stated that in the final quarter Zion could play up to 10 minutes. Zion would then play most of the 4th quarter, finishing with a total of 24 minutes in the game. The most minutes he received in the bubble so far. With this time, he recorded 23 points, 5 assists, and 7 rebounds. In the last 2 games, Zion only averages 10 points per game. Zion opened up lanes for both Brandon Ingram and J.J. Redick and played solid on the offensive side of the ball.
Now that Zion is back onto the court the Pelicans actually have a chance at the playoffs. Zion stated after the game, that the Pelicans now had a launching point to build upon for the future. The Pelicans are now past the tough part of their schedule. With a healthy Zion, a playoff run seems destined.
However, there are still many challenges Zion and the Pelicans face, including his health and stamina. In the 3rd quarter, Zion appeared sluggish but bounced back in late in the 4th to give the Pelican the push they needed to win. Whether it was the physicality of the game or just the movement of the game, Zion seemed slow. In the end, it doesn’t matter. Once Zion can finally let loose on the court, the Pelicans will start winning again.