NBA: Why Zion’s playing time in Pelicans restart debut was severely limited


Posted at Jul 31 2020 10:10 PM


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New Orleans rookie sensation Zion Williamson settled for 15 minutes of action even if it meant the Pelicans losing to the Utah Jazz in the final minutes of the game.

Williamson, arguably the most hyped No. 1 overall pick since LeBron James, used up all of his 15 minutes before crunch time and watched from the sidelines as Utah closed out New Orleans 106-104.

"Of course, we wish we could've played him down the stretch, but we used the minutes that were given to us and that's the way it is," Pelicans coach Alvin Gentry said in an article posted on

"We weren't going to stick him back out there. The medical people said we played them in the minutes that were allowed for us to play him, and just move on. I thought he looked good, I thought he had some good moments, and obviously we're a much better and different team when he's out on the floor."

Williamson, who missed the first 43 games of the season because of knee surgery, had 13 points in 15 minutes for the Pelicans.

The former Duke standout cleared quarantine on Tuesday, following two weeks attending to a family emergency outside the bubble.

He had limited time of what Gentry described as "light practice" and was a game-time decision for the opener against the Jazz.

"I was told the minutes that he could play, and that's what I did," Gentry said.

Williamson said he is still getting back his flow for the game.

"This is the NBA, this is the best players in the world, and you want to feel comfortable," he said. "I don't want to hurt my team more than I helped them in a sense, if you understand me."

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