JJ Reddick says Pelicans' Zion Williamson isn't a good teammate
Zion Williamson has been called out by his former teammate JJ Reddick for not being a good teammate when it comes to his involvement and investment.
Once considered the one of the hottest young commodities in the NBA, Zion Williamson has been absent for some time due to injury. With that said one might think that he could do no wrong being sidelined, but apparently that's not the way one former teammate sees it.
Zion Williamson is not a good teammate
According to former New Orleans Pelicans teammate JJ Reddick, although Zion Williamson has been out for all of the season so far due to a foot injury, he's been absent as a teammate for much longer. Indeed, Reddick didn't hold back when speaking on the sidelined star. "There's a responsibility that you have as an athlete when you play a team sport to be fully invested," Redick said. "You're fully invested in your body, you're fully invested in your work and you're fully invested in your teammates. That is your responsibility, and we have not seen that from Zion." Of course, Reddick and Williamson played together across the last two seasons before Reddick announced his retirement. "This is something I addressed with Zion in front of the team," Reddick said. "This is going back to his rookie year."
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This isn't the first time Williamson has come under fire
When considering Reddick's remarks, it's interesting to note that just this weekend past, during the All-Star festivities, Williamson's supposed issues as a teammate were thrust fully into the spotlight. Speaking on Williamson's absence, fellow Pelicans player CJ McCollum was open about the fact that he had not spoken with Williamson since his move from Portland on trade deadline day. "I haven't had conversations with him directly. ...I've spoken with some people close to him and look forward to sitting down with him sooner than later," McCollum said Saturday night. "I know about as much as you do right now, but I'm gonna get to the bottom of it."
So what's up with Zion Williamson?
Diving deeper into the scenario Redick referred to Williamson's refusal to communicate with McCollum as a "pattern of behavior." "This just shows a complete lack of investment in your team, in the organization, in the city," Redick said. "I get that he's hurt and away from the team, but you just traded for one of the 50 best players in the league - a guy that's supposed to be paired with you. Reach out and say, 'Hello.' This is a pattern of behavior with Zion that we are seeing again and again. I was his teammate, I can describe him as a detached teammate, that is an accurate statement."
Where Williamson himself is concerned it should be noted that he is yet to play this season having suffered a fracture in his right foot. The injury would later require surgery which in turn did not provide the kind of results that were initially hoped for. In fact Williamson's return has been delayed a number of times though it was initially understood that he would return for the start of the season. At present Williamson is working rehabilitation away from the team and is understood to be in Portland after being authorized to do so by the Pelicans.
Whether Williamson is as problematic as some say or not, the reality is that when he's been available he has quite simply been a force to be reckoned with. With an average of 27 points, 7.2 rebounds and 3.7 assists across the 61 games that he played last season, one couldn't really have asked for more. "Yes, he's been amazing when he's been on the court - 100 percent. He's amazing to watch. There's no one that can do what he does on a basketball court...but as a teammate, there is a pattern of behavior, as a fully invested individual in New Orleans, there's a pattern of behavior," Redick said. "This is worrisome."