New Orleans Pelicans forward Zion Williamson is coming off a solid rookie season, but executive vice president of basketball operations David Griffin believes injuries held the No. 1 overall pick from showcasing his full potential.
"Once he gets to the point where he's healthy enough to play his game, play with the ball more, play more as a slasher and less as a post-up presence, I think you're going to see the real Zion come to the floor," Griffin told reporters Monday, according to ESPN's Andrew Lopez.
Williamson averaged 22.5 points, 6.3 boards, and 2.1 assists as he finished third in the 2019-20 NBA Rookie of the Year voting. Injuries limited the Duke product to just 24 appearances last season.
New Orleans has been cautious with Williamson since his return from a torn meniscus in late January. He played only one back-to-back set during the previous campaign and was on a minutes restriction in the bubble. The 20-year-old also sat out three of the Pelicans' final four contests.
Griffin reiterated the importance of Williamson's health regarding the long-term development of his game.
"I think it's hard to identify the things he needs to make the most improvement on other than his availability. We're going to need to keep him healthy and let him grow as a player," Griffin said.
"Everything he did, he did at a historically efficient level. And frankly, I would tell you it's the things he enjoyed the least on a basketball court. And he was historically good at it. That's not a function of his improvement, that's more of a function of his opportunity to stay on the floor and be used in those interchangeable ways."