SportCharles Barkley: Zion Williamson isn't fat but 'can't play at that weight'
Pelicans' Zion Williamson calls spacing in the NBA 'a dream come true'
“The 3-point line does create more spacing, because everybody can shoot," Williamson said.
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).
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.
Pelicans reveal planned summer-league workload for Zion Williamson
NBA fans will get a pretty good look at Zion Williamson when the New Orleans Pelicans take part in NBA Summer League action. According to Pelicans coach Alvin Gentry, Williamson will likely play 24-28 minutes in the team’s summer league opener against the New York Knicks. The Pelicans plan for Zion Williamson to play 24-28 minutes in their summer league opener against the New York Knicks on Friday, coach Alvin Gentry said. — Malika Andrews (@malika_andrews) July 5, 2019 While the summer league isn’t always a great representation of the competition rookies will be facing once the season starts, it is still an NBA philosophy and style of play.
"I was fat so I needed to lose weight," Barkley said during a Tuesday"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."
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 teamout for the rest of summer league.
Watch: Pelicans’ Zion Williamson steals ball, throws down ferocious dunk
Just a few minutes into his NBA Summer League debut, New Orleans Pelicans star rookie Zion Williamson showed everyone just exactly what’s coming to the NBA for years to come with a vicious sequence. After the New York Knicks grabbed the rebound, Williamson ripped the ball and soul out of Kevin Knox’s hand and flung him to the ground in a single motion. Williamson then went up and slammed in a ferocious dunk then stared at Knox to let him know that the star rookie is here to stay. Another look at @Zionwilliamson's steal-dunk! #SummerPelicanspic.twitter.
“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:
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