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Pelicans’ David Griffin: Zion Williamson ‘not normal’

Zion Williamson’s long-awaited NBA regular-season debut is right around the corner, and New Orleans Pelicans executive vice president of basketball operations David Griffin recently laid out how the team has its hands full in attempting to responsibly manage the rookie’s growth and development.

At 6-foot-6 and 284 pounds, Williamson without question is an athletic freak of nature given how he’s able to do things on the court someone with his build and physique shouldn’t be able to accomplish.

With that rare combination of size, strength and agility — not to mention the fact the 19-year-old is still growing — Griffin has stressed how the Pelicans have to oversee Williamson’s development differently than the norm. This perception is only further exacerbated by the perception that Williamson carries too much weight for his frame.

“Our challenge with Zion is: How do you continue to give him enough strength to control the torque he generates without adding weight that increases the torque in and of itself,” Griffin said, via Baxter Holmes of ESPN. “Giving him the ability to be flexible enough and to have the right mechanics, and supporting that flexibility with the strength that it takes to control it in the form of a kid who adds muscle mass as fast as any human being I’ve ever seen.”

Griffin went on to relay how Williamson managed to put on eight pounds of muscle during the offseason during a team-wide weightlifting regimen that lasted only one week.

“He’s not normal,” Griffin said. “So finding stasis with Zion is the challenge, because he’s 19 years old. He’s still growing. It’s not going to be about a number. It’s going to be about metrics of flexibility and strength and control and all of the different things that we can measure that really are outside of weight.”

There were overblown reports in December that the Pelicans were teaching Williamson how to walk and run differently during his rehab following surgery on a torn meniscus. That aside, expect the Pelicans to be overly cautious with Williamson once he makes his anticipated NBA debut on Jan. 22, both on and off the court.