When the New Orleans Pelicans selected Zion Williamson with the first overall pick in the 2019 NBA draft, the 1.98m-tall player was destined to become one of the finest power forwards in the league.
Yet, almost four years later, he has yet to live up to expectations mainly due to his numerous injuries.
This year, Williamson has been sidelined since early February, when he picked up a hamstring knock.
Hence, he was forced to miss the All-Star weekend despite being selected as a starter for the main event. Then, Pelicans executive vice president David Griffin revealed that Williamson had suffered a setback.
“I think we’re looking at multiple weeks past All-Star break,” Griffin said.
“What that looks like in terms of timeline I can’t really tell you.”
Zion Williamson’s injury history
Williamson has appeared in 29 of the Pelicans’ 59 games this season. He played the first three, missed two, then played eight, missed three, then featured in 14 before missing another three, and finally played four before being sidelined for the last 22.
His injuries have prevented him from finding consistency. Since joining the NBA franchise, he has participated in just 114 of the 287 games disputed by the Pelicans in the last four seasons.
This means that he has played just 39.7 percent of his team’s games. In other words, he misses six every 10 games.
If you count all seasons, Williamson features in just 28.5 games per campaign, or 38 matches per term should we not count the 2021/22 season, when he was sidelined through a serious injury.
Zion is shining when fit
When healthy, Zion has demonstrated that he is an outstanding NBA star. In fact, he is averaging 25.8 points, 7.0 rebounds and an astounding 60.5 percent from the field.
Williamson is a force of nature and defenders struggle to contain him when he is close to the hoop. But, his physique is preventing him from succeeding as expected.
At nearly 130 kilos, he is the fourth heaviest player in the NBA. According to league statistics, only Bojan Marjanovic and Jusuf Nurkic weigh more than him, and they are both taller, standing at 2.23m and 2.13m, respectively.
Zion Williamson’s contract and salary
Despite his recurring injuries, the Pelicans still believe in their star, who is still 22 years old. New Orleans offered him a risky five-year, 193m dollar contract extension.
However, they included a clause that will allow them to monitor his weight and body fat percentage. If he exceeds certain limits, his salary could be reduced.
In the current season, Williamson will receive 13.5 million dollars. Next year, he will earn 33.5m dollars, and in the 2027/28 season, which is the last of his current contract, he is guaranteed 44.2m dollars in wages.