It’s a bit of analysis that echoes through seemingly every Western Conference preview when the conversation turns to the Pelicans:
“If Zion Williamson can stay healthy…”
it is big”IF” — in three seasons Williamson played in 85 games and missed 141, including all of last season. But after his leg surgery, he had a new strength and conditioning coach in Jasper Bibbs, and Bibbs spoke about Zion with The Athletic’s William Guillory.
“He’s in fantastic shape,” Bibbs told The Athletic. “He’s committed to working every day. I’m really proud of what he’s been able to achieve. He is a better athlete now than ever…
“We focused on addressing body composition—body weight, body fat, etc. – maintaining and improving flexibility, strength and power. We also focused on improving his overall fitness. The more weight it carries, the more stress it puts on the body. We focused on aerobic and anaerobic conditioning specifically for basketball. One of the main goals was to get Zion back to the same athletic ability she had before the injury. Along the way, he improved athletically…
“I’m very happy with his commitment to not only his grooming, but his commitment to doing all the hard work with his soft tissue, stretching and nutrition. He was amazing with his diet. I am very happy for him. As he continues his NBA career, it’s amazing that he’s starting to develop these habits right now at such a young point in his career.”
Biebs wouldn’t give up the weight of Zion (of course he didn’t). However, everyone will be able to see in a week what it looks like and how it moves.
There have been questions about Zion’s training habits and playing style, but when he’s on the floor he looks every bit the No.1 pick and generational talent he was predicted to be. Two seasons ago, when Stan Van Gundy made him more point forward at times, Zion he averaged 27 points per game on 61.1% shooting, plus 7.2 rebounds and 3.7 assists per game and looked like the best interior scorer in the game. Now mate him the shooting and shot creation of CJ McCollum and Brandon Ingram, flanked by good role players (Larry Nance, Herbert Jones, Jonas Valanciunas) and suddenly the Pelicans look much more dangerous.
If Zion can stay healthy.
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Get on the Zion hype bandwagon: His trainer says he’s in ‘fantastic shape’ appeared first on NBCSports.com