star new orleans swans Zion Williamson He has been absent from the field this season due to a foot injury, but according to JJ RiddickWilliamson was absent from his teammate throughout his time in the NBA.
“There is a responsibility on you as an athlete when you play a team sport to be fully invested,” Riddick said Tuesday on First Take. “You invest completely in your body, you invest completely in your work and you invest completely in your teammates. That’s your responsibility, and we haven’t seen that from Zion.”
Riddick and Williamson had been teammates with the Pelicans for parts of the past two seasons before Riddick announced his retirement and joined ESPN as an NBA analyst prior to this season.
Riddick said he expressed his concerns with Williamson while in New Orleans.
“This is something I addressed with Zion in front of the team,” Riddick said. “This goes back to his rookie year.”
“This is a pattern of behavior with Zion that we see over and over again. I was his teammate, I can describe him as a separate teammate, and that’s an accurate statement.”
Williamson’s potential problems as a teammate came to light during last weekend’s All-Star Celebrations when CJ McCollum He said he hasn’t spoken to Williamson since he was traded to New Orleans from Portland on Deadline Trade.
“I haven’t had direct conversations with him,” McCollum said Saturday night. “I’ve spoken to some of those close to him and look forward to sitting down with him sooner rather than later.” “I know as much as you do now, but I will get to the bottom of it.”
Riddick said Williamson’s silence towards McCollum was part of a “pattern of behaviour”.
“It shows the complete lack of investment in your team, in the organization, in the city,” Riddick said. “I understand he’s injured and out of the team, but you just traded one of the top 50 players in the league – a guy who’s supposed to be with you. Reach out and say, ‘Hey.’ That’s a pattern of behavior with Zion that we see over and over again. I was his teammate, and I could He described him as a separate teammate, and that’s an accurate statement.”
Williamson has not played this season after sustaining a broken right foot that required surgery during the summer. After there was initial optimism that Williamson would return at the start of the season, his return has been delayed several times. He’s currently working on his rehab away from the team, with sources telling ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski that Williamson is rehab in Portland, Oregon, with the Pelican’s blessing.
When Williamson was healthy, he was a strength. He averaged 27 points, 7.2 rebounds and 3.7 assists while playing 61 of the team’s 72 games last season.
“Yes, he was amazing when he was on the court – 100 per cent. It’s amazing watching him. Nobody can do what they do on the basketball court… But as a teammate, there is a pattern of behaviour, as an individual fully invested in New Orleans, there’s a pattern of behavior,” Riddick said. “This is worrying.”
Information from ESPN’s Andrew Lopez was used in this report.
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