The New Orleans Pelicans have a promising roster, and their appearance in the NBA playoffs this year has given their fans plenty of hope.
A midseason trade netted them CJ McCollum, who averaged 24.3 points a game in 26 games for the Pelicans.
Star forward Brandon Ingram had another good season, and he stepped things up in their playoff series versus the Phoenix Suns, averaging 27.0 points a game on 47.5 percent overall shooting and 40.7 percent shooting from 3-point range.
But the main piece is big man Zion Williamson.
He missed the entire season due to a foot injury, and his three-year career has already been marred by multiple major injuries.
He will enter the final year on his contract next season, and there will soon be talk about New Orleans offering him a multi-year contract worth a fortune.
Would doing so be a good idea for a man who is always a major injury risk?
Williamson Is A Great Player (When Healthy)
The Duke University product played in only 24 games his rookie season and 61 a year later, but when he has been available, he has been a force to be reckoned with.
Even though he has the build of a butterball at 6-foot-6 and over 280 pounds, he can handle the ball and create his own shot, which has earned him some comparisons to Hall of Famer Charles Barkley.
He has career averages of 25.7 points a game on 60.4 percent shooting, and he is also something of a free throw magnet.
We forget how good a healthy Zion Williamson really is. pic.twitter.com/09VVz90krz
— NBA Retweet (@RTNBA) June 6, 2022
So far in his career, he has taken 70.9 percent of his shots from within three feet, and he has made 69.2 percent of such shots.
That speaks to what a physical force he is, as well as his ability to create his own shot, rather than primarily wait for a teammate to get him the ball inside.
Last season, he was simply dominant down the stretch of the schedule.
Buy your Zion Williamson stock before it’s too late pic.twitter.com/OG0bGO93vh
— j (@allnbazion) May 30, 2022
From the outside looking in, some may think Williamson is a plodding behemoth who is not very mobile because he is so big, but that is not true.
He has decent athleticism and explosiveness, which he has shown at both ends of the floor.
People forgot how great Zion Williamson is 🔥🔥🔥 pic.twitter.com/x4E9jp8qD7
— Blue Devils (@BlueDevils) June 1, 2022
When he is available, he is a true superstar.
In The End, He Is Too Much Of An Injury Risk
There is an old saying that one’s best ability is availability, and that is an ability that Williamson lacks.
Perhaps it’s not really his fault, but so far in his basketball career, he has proven that he is always a risk to sustain a major injury.
As a rookie, he didn’t make his debut until late January due to a torn meniscus he suffered during the preseason.
This season, it was a fractured foot and subsequent surgery that prevented Williamson from playing at all.
He also suffered a sprained knee during his lone season at Duke, which caused him to be held out of the Blue Devils’ last six regular season games.
At this point, there is a very real chance that if the Pelicans give Williamson a max contract, he will only be able to play, on average, half a season, which would cause that deal to be viewed as a bad contract.
The Pelicans wouldn’t be wrong to keep him in the fold, but they would likely be wrong to invest superstar-type money into a man who is only to play some of the time.
The even greater concern is that Williamson could suffer a catastrophic injury, such as a ruptured Achilles, that could render him a much lesser player than he is right now.