New Orleans Pelicans star Zion Williamson has been absent from the court this season due to a foot injury, but according to JJ Redick, Williamson was absent as a teammate during their time together in the NBA.
“There’s a responsibility that you have as an athlete when you play a team sport to be fully involved,” Redick said Tuesday on First Take. “You’re fully involved with your body, you’re fully involved with your job and you’re fully involved with your teammates. That’s your responsibility and we haven’t seen that from Zion.”
Redick and Williamson were Pelicans teammates for parts of the past two seasons before Redick announced his retirement and joined ESPN as an NBA analyst before this season.
Redick said he raised his concerns with Williamson while he was in New Orleans.
“This is something I addressed with Zion in front of the team,” Redick said. “This goes back to his rookie year.”
Williamson’s potential problems as a teammate came to the fore during the All-Star festivities last weekend when CJ McCollum said he hasn’t spoken to Williamson since he was traded from Portland to New Orleans at the New Orleans deadline. changes.
“I haven’t had conversations with him directly… I’ve talked to a few people close to him and I hope to sit down as soon as possible,” McCollum said Saturday night.
McCollum told ESPN’s Malika Andrews on Tuesday morning that he has since spoken with Williamson.
Redick said Williamson’s initial silence toward McCollum is part of a “pattern of behavior.”
“This just shows a complete lack of investment in your team, in the organization, in the city,” Redick said. “I understand that he is injured and away from the team, but one of the 50 best players in the League has just arrived, a guy who is supposed to be paired with you. Come closer and say: ‘Hello’. This is a pattern of behavior with Zion that we are seeing over and over again. I was his teammate, I can describe him as an aloof teammate, that’s an accurate statement.”
Williamson has not played this season after suffering a broken right foot that required surgery over the summer. After there was initial optimism that he would return for the start of the current season, his return was delayed several times. He is now working on rehabbing him away from the team and sources told ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski that Williamson is rehabbing in Portland, Oregon, with the Pelicans’ approval.
When he has been healthy, Williamson has been a force for his team. He averaged 27 points, 7.2 rebounds and 3.7 assists in 61 of the team’s 72 games last season.
“Yeah, he’s been amazing when he’s been on the court, 100 percent. It’s amazing to watch. There’s no one who can do what he does on a basketball court … but as a teammate, there’s a pattern of behavior, as a completely invested individual in New Orleans, there is a pattern of behavior,” Redick said. “This is worrying”.
With information from ESPN’s Andrew Lopez.