Three weeks ago, I released a story regarding the New Orleans Pelicans rookie session Zion Williamson. Fox Sports Southwest’s Cedric Ceballos shared with me back in November that the former AP men’s college basketball player of the year should sit out the entire 2019-20 season. If the Pelicans decide to sit Williamson this season, he will be eligible to win the NBA Rookie of the Year Award in 2020-21.
“We don’t know the timetable for Zion. I say Ben Simmons and Blake Griffin him and let him go get it next year,” said Ceballos.
For those of you who are unfamiliar with Blake Griffin and Ben Simmons, Simmons was drafted in 2016 but sat out his rookie season due to injury. The following season he would go on to beat Utah Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell out for Rookie of the Year in 2017. The same situation happened back in 2009 with Blake Griffin, and he won his award the following season.
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Stephen A. Smith Agrees With Ceballos Regarding Williamson
During Thursday’s morning’s episode of ESPN’s First Take, Stephen A. Smith revealed that he thought Zion Williamson should sit out the 2019-20 season.
“They [New Orleans Pelicans] look awful right now there is no excuse. I told y’all about Lonzo Bal, I told y’all that wasn’t going to pan out and not only that listen, [but] Alvin Gentry is [also] a good coach. [However] he does not look like a good coach right now, they don’t have talent that justifies losing 13 straight games. There’s just no way that should happen that has happened, and I think if you are David Griffin a little bit differently,” said Smith.
Smith then zeroed in on Zion Williamson’s health.
“You are looking at a guy in Zion Williamson that has some baby fat on him looks like he has to get in shape. We know he can’t because he is compromised due to his health is in question. He does not look healthy right now, and then you look at the rest of the team with Alvin Gentry pushing for an uptempo squad.
That’s not how they are going to win basketball games with that particular team. They just don’t have it like that there needs to be some compromise in terms of him knowing his personnel and adjusting accordingly. In the end, the season is already over, and they don’t look very good right now. You can call it youth and inexperience or whatever but in light of there doormat situation. There is no reason to play Zion Williamson this year, I think Williamson should be like Ben Simmons and sit him out,” Smith shared.
Earlier this month, I spoke with a high ranking official in the NBA, and the individuals shared that they didn’t think the Pelicans would consider shutdown Williamson just for Rookie of the Year consideration. They have more important things to worry about moving forward.