Get rid of doubts and injuries, the deadlock that “Fat Tiger” Zion Williamson wants to prove!

Pelicans’ Zion Williamson and assistant coach Teresa Weatherspoon were on the court hours before the Spurs’ home playoff game.

Williamson did a simple shooting and dribbling exercise and saved the game for last.

At the end of practice, Williamson took the ball to the baseline and kept his eyes on the rim. He took two steps, the ball at his side, and his feet jumped into the air. As he spun in the air near the rim, Williamson relentlessly smashed the ball to the rim for a windmill dunk that ended the night’s practice.

While the Pelicans had an unexpected performance in the playoffs, Siion had to sit on the sidelines all season starring, unable to help the team because of his broken right foot.

Extended read: 10 players returning from injury with full blood or who can change the map of the league (below)

The Pelicans, without Zion, bounced back after a disappointing start to the season with 3 wins and 16 losses. The playoffs defeated the Spurs and the Clippers, and in the first round of the playoffs, the first seed Suns broke into a cold sweat.

As Brandon Ingram, CJ McCollum and the entire team battled their way through Game 6 in the first round, Williamson was on the sidelines cheering on his teammates.

While the Pelicans’ season ended in the first round of the playoffs, there is still plenty of good news for new head coach Willie Green to celebrate this season. McCollum and Ingram acted like two long-time veterans about to continue their postseason comeback. The three rookies Jose Alvarado, Trey Murphy III and Herbert Jones also got some playing time in the playoffs, adding valuable experience in the real world.

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However, many doubts about Williamson have not ended. Doubts about Williamson’s future in New Orleans surfaced, especially when he was eligible to sign a rookie extension through July but has yet to be signed.

In the first three seasons of his career, Williamson played in just 85 games, including 24 in his rookie season and 61 in his second season. He missed many games during his rookie season with a torn meniscus. In the 2020-2021 season, even with a two-hand injury, he was relatively healthy that season, missing only 11 games.

When reporters mentioned Williamson’s contract extension on April 29, Pelicans executive vice president David Griffin replied: “Obviously there will be negotiations on the contract, and this will be our challenge.

“When the time comes, the team will be ready to contract. However, at the moment we are more focused on Williamson’s health, and that is what we will work on first.”

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Williamson’s talent is undeniable, but due to injuries, he has yet to fully meet the expectations of the fans. This summer, Williamson and those around him will work to make sure those doubters are a thing of the past. The team has also publicly expressed the No. 1 pick’s dedication to the Pelicans and even the entire New Orleans community. ,

March

3/29/2022: Williamson has his first rehab practice since returning from Portland. While playing with the Pelicans, Williamson also worked hard to get back on the court.

April

4/5/2022: Williamson’s stepfather, Lee Anderson, mentioned on the web program The Jordy Culotta Show that he expects Williamson to return for the rest of the season. “If you ask Zion himself, I’m sure he will answer the same,” he added.

4/7/2022: The Pelicans announce that Williamson is ready for 5-on-5 full court practice. Head coach Green calls it a “control race.”

4/13/2022: Hours before kickoff at Smoothie King Center, ESPN anchor Cassidy Hubbarth captures Williamson’s 360-degree dunk on camera. The Pelicans beat the Spurs 113-103 that night.

2022/4/15: After trailing by 13 points in the first three quarters, the Pelicans came back strong in the fourth quarter, beating the Clippers 105-101 and securing the eighth seed in the Conference playoffs West.

4/28/2022: The Pelicans are eliminated by the Phoenix Suns after Game 6 in the first round.

2022/4/29: Williamson spoke publicly for the first time, and when asked about a rookie extension, said, “Of course, I would sign it without hesitation.” Shortly after, the team’s vice president, Griffin, said that the Contracts extension will be a challenge.

May

5/26/2022: Williamson is officially cleared for a full training session, the final hurdle to returning to the field. With no games coming up, Williamson can focus on training in the offseason.

When Williamson was drafted by the Pelicans, New Orleans Saints NFL quarterbacks Drew Brees and Williamson said that if you really love the city, the city will come back. As July progresses, Williamson is expected to put Drew Brees’ advice into action. The Broad Theater is a small movie theater in one of New Orleans’ oldest black neighborhoods. After watching the Pixar movie “Buzz Lightyear”, 85 children lined up outside the Broad theater to leave. At this moment, a huge six foot six figure appeared in front of them.

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Dressed in all black, wearing a bucket hat and his own Zion branded Jordan T hat, Williamson appeared in front of children who attended a basketball camp between Williamson and the Dryades YMCA.

The six week youth basketball camp is for children between 7 and 14 years of age. This camp is not a summer camp for ordinary NBA players. Williamson’s presence that day allowed the 85 to balloon to 1,000 in any week.

Zion Williamson, his stepfather Lee Anderson and coach Jasper Bibbs set the cinema on fire. After the three watched the child get on the bus, they also went together.

After the battalion members were seated, Williamson asked, “Which one is bus one? Which one is bus two?”

Williamson very comfortable in the camp. After being drafted by the Pelicans in the summer of 2019, Williamson has not had the opportunity to integrate into the local community. At first, he still struggled to adapt to the league and lacked skills, and the next two seasons were affected by the epidemic, which prevented him from participating in community activities.

Now, however, he has a chance to give back to New Orleans.

June

6/9/2022: After referring to the “challenge” of Williamson’s rookie contract extension, David Griffin on The Ryen Russillo Podcast changed his mind and said the extension was an “easy decision.”

2022/6/11: During the opening ceremony of the youth basketball camp, Williamson once again announced to reporters that he wants to stay in New Orleans. “I really want to be on this team.”

2022/6/22; Williamson’s second signature shoe, the Zion 2, is officially on sale. One of the pairs matches the color “Voodoo”. The second pair is the “Hope of Diamond” colour, which is the same shoe he wore when he trained with the team in April.

July

2022/7/2: Williamson signed a five-year, $193 million extension, which will increase to $231 million if he makes the league’s top three teams in the future.

7/6/2022: On his 22nd birthday, Williamson signed a contract extension surrounded by family and youth basketball students.

Staying healthy has been a focus for Williamson since college. Last year, Williamson brought on Jasper Bibbs, a personal trainer who has served with the Utah Jazz and LSU. He also hired Christian Green, a Louisiana-born chef who was part of the television show “MasterChef.” Green has been managing his diet since Williamson’s return from Portland in March, claiming that Williamson’s goal is to be more “lean.” “Our goal is to make Williamson as rare as possible,” Green told ESPN in July. “He’s already healthy, but he needs to adjust further. We won’t take any shortcuts to get there. Let’s just say, Chef Christian won’t give you candy!”

Green claims that he and Bibbs continue to work together to create the best schedule for Williamson. Although the Pelicans added a “pressure clause” to the contract, sources told ESPN commentator Bobby Marks that unless Williamson was waived by the Pelicans, he would not lose a dime because of the clause.

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On July 6, exactly one year after he broke the fifth metatarsal in his right foot, Williamson sat down with his family and signed the rookie-designated five-year extension.

“Thank you to the Pelicans for this birthday present and I will never let them down,” Williamson said last month. “I won’t let my family down, I won’t let the city down. Most importantly, I won’t let myself down.”

July

7/9/2022: Williamson and fellow Jordanian Luka Doncic fly to Paris for the Quai 54 Street Basketball League.

7/13/2022: Williamson flies straight back to Las Vegas from Paris to meet the Pelicans in the Summer League.

Williamson was on the sidelines in the summer league when the Pelicans and Wizards were about to dunk the ball at the Thomas and Mack Center. Having just finished his trip to Paris, he went straight to Las Vegas to support his team.

Although Dyson Daniels, the eighth overall pick in the 2022 first round, did not play, the Pelicans beat the Wizards that day. Before that, Daniels sprained his ankle after playing just eight minutes in summer league. Three years ago, Williamson played just nine minutes in his first game in Las Vegas with a bruised knee.

Williamson sat opposite Ingram and McCollum from the Pelicans bench, and McCollum was not traded to the Pelicans in Williamson’s last game last May.

The starting five at the time also included Eric Bledsoe, Lonzo Ball and Steven Adams. James Johnson and James Nunnally came off the bench and fought on the court for a few minutes to make a final push before the play-offs.

At the time, Williamson averaged 27 points, 7.2 rebounds, and maintained a shooting percentage of 61.1 percent. He is the only player in history to average 27 points and shoot more than 60 percent from the field.

Williamson has not played since that game. Meanwhile, the Pelicans have not only added McCollum and last year’s rookies to the line-up, they have also strengthened a number of experienced veterans such as Jonas Valanciunas, Larry Nance Jr and Devonte’ Graham.

With such a core lineup, the Pelicans made the first seeded Suns suffer a lot in the first round of the playoffs. Next season, Williamson is expected to return to this promising team.

“You saw how good this team was last season,” Williamson said after the signing. “And I’m very excited to be a part of that next season.”

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【Contributing Editor Wang Zhaosong / Responsible Editor Xie Yiqian】

This article summarizes reference: How has New Orleans Pelicans star Zion Williamson been preparing for his return from a long-term injury?

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