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SportCharles Barkley: Zion Williamson isn't fat but 'can't play at that weight'

21:40  17 july  2019
21:40  17 july  2019 Source:   usatoday.com

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Charles Barkley: Zion Williamson isn't fat but 'can't play at that weight'© Provided by USA Today Sports Media Group LLC

Basketball Hall of Famer Charles Barkley added his opinion to a group of pundits who've addressed rookie Zion Williamson's weight since the 19-year-old showed up to NBA summer league looking out of shape (in the words of his former coach, Mike Krzyzewski).

One 250 pound-plus forward to the other, Barkley said Williamson just needs to find his ideal playing weight to be successful. The 6-foot-7 former Duke star checked in at 285 pounds as a freshman and is expected to be one of the heaviest players in the league in 2019-20. In his prime, a 6-6 Barkley weighed around 250 pounds.

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"I was fat so I needed to lose weight," Barkley said during a Tuesday appearance on ESPN's Get Up. "I don’t know what Zion’s perfect playing weight is going to be. I thought 300 was my perfect playing weight in college. I had to lose 50 pounds to become a Hall of Famer."

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Krzyzewski said last week he felt Williamson should've skipped summer league because he wasn't in mental or physical shape. His comments echoed college basketball analyst Seth Greenberg suggesting the former college player of the year was overweight. Williamson ended up only playing nine minutes of the New Orleans Pelicans' summer league opener before suffering a minor injury. The team cautiously kept the No. 1 pick out for the rest of summer league.

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“I hear he weighs 280," Barkley added. "He can't play at 280 in the NBA. He can’t play at that weight, it’s too much stress on his knees. He’s so big and he’s so strong, but everybody in the NBA is big and strong.”

Barkley said because of how much muscle Williamson has and how agile he plays on the hardwood, the teenager will be an interesting case study that the Pelicans will have to invest in.

“They’re going to have to do some really interesting tests on Zion’s body, because he doesn’t look fat at all," Barkley said. " ... I think he’s got a great system down in New Orleans. I love David Griffin and Alvin Gentry, but they’re going to have to come up with a comprehensive plan to see what the perfect playing weight is."

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Charles Barkley: Zion Williamson isn't fat but 'can't play at that weight'

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