5 Observations for Phoenix Suns from Pelicans vs Clippers Play-In Game

Phoenix Suns, Mikal Bridges. Mandatory Credit: Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports
Phoenix Suns, Mikal Bridges. Mandatory Credit: Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports /
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Phoenix Suns, Zion Williamson.
Phoenix Suns, Zion Williamson. Mandatory Credit: Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports /

Phoenix Suns Observation #4: Zion Williamson is Almost Guaranteed to NOT Play

Legendary TNT analyst and former Suns great Charles Barkley is known for being horribly wrong on guarantees he has made in the past. That track record is perhaps the only reason why he neglected to guarantee Williamson’s unavailability for the rest of the season.

Yes, it is a terrible look for Williamson to be doing 360 dunks and windmills while injured with a broken foot. The perception is that Williamson does not want to play or that the Pelicans are being overly cautious with their future superstar.

But the reality is that Williamson’s broken foot has not fully healed yet. The man is still injured and should be out for the foreseeable future. These broken bones do not heal overnight. It is significantly different to do one dunk compared to playing in an NBA playoff game. He should not even be dunking if his foot is still broken.

By looking at him, he does not appear remotely close to being in game shape. He is still overweight and at serious risk of re-injuring his foot if he were to play in this series. Furthermore, it is way too late in the season for him to get back into shape.

Some players (e.g. Luka Doncic) can play their way into shape in the early part of the season. Luka can dominate a game without doing too much jumping and sprinting. Not Zion though. He relies on his superior leaping ability and his sheer physicality to remain effective on the court.

The regular season is a marathon, not a sprint, but the playoffs are more like a sprint. Going from 0- to-100 immediate is asking for a serious injury, especially with someone as athletic and as overweight as Williamson. Very few players can just go from not playing at all to contributing meaningful minutes in the playoffs.

So I highly doubt Williamson is playing this series. Judging by his poor body language on the bench, he was probably told he was done for the season before the Play-In game. He did not look too happy to be in street clothes, nor should he be happy about it.

But that’s why Williamson has to stay in elite shape no matter what. He had no idea that the Pelicans would get to the playoffs!