Zion still some way off Pelicans debut – Griffin

By Dejan Kalinic 18 December 2019 10
Zion still some way off Pelicans debut – Griffin

Zion Williamson is still some way from his NBA debut despite making good progress, New Orleans Pelicans executive vice-president of basketball operations David Griffin said.

Williamson, 19, was the first pick in the 2019 NBA Draft, but the forward underwent knee surgery in October.

In a boost to the struggling Pelicans (6-22), Williamson did some light shooting on Tuesday as he nears an NBA debut.

But Griffin moved to play down excitement around a return, saying Williamson still had work to do.

"We're really excited about where he's at. He's made really good progress," he told Fox Sports New Orleans.

"I know we've reached that eight-week point and everybody's ready to see him. I think we're a little ways away yet, but today was a really big first step.

"He's at an important time for him because he's now fully weight bearing, so if we're going to see a setback we would see it now.

"But the team-mates, the way they respond to him, the joy he has when he's on the court is evident and we've obviously needed that."

The Pelicans are on their worst losing streak in the franchise's history, suffering 13 consecutive defeats.

It has led to suggestions star Jrue Holiday could be traded, but Griffin dismissed those rumours.

"Clearly not, no," he said when asked if the Pelicans were trying to trade Holiday.

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Dejan Kalinic