Zion Williamson, pelicans, said he spent the quarantine period relearning the basics


For New Orleans Pelicans striker Zion Williamson, the time he spent in his forties made him feel like a child.

To prepare for the NBA season, Williamson said he had worked with his stepfather, Lee Anderson, when he was not rehabilitating with Pelicans employees. Williamson, 20, cherished this time trying to stay as ready as possible in basketball.

“I felt like I was 5 again,” said Williamson on Friday. “I just went back to square one, I tried to bring my body back where it should be, put my basics back to square one and go from there. So yes, it was like starting again at 5 o’clock. It was a great process to learn everything. ”

Pelicans coach Alvin Gentry said Williamson “looked great” as the team resumed full training for the first time in four months Friday afternoon near Orlando, Florida. Gentry also credited Anderson for the work he did with Williamson while the pelicans were far apart from each other in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic.

“His stepfather did a fantastic job of training him everyday, getting him in good shape when we got him back,” said Gentry. “He made a lot of progress in his shooting, I think. Even though we weren’t together, he did a lot to improve his game. ”

In his first game in the NBA on January 22, Williamson made a barrage of scorers in the fourth quarter when he went 4-on-4 from the 3-point range, putting the Smoothie King Center at his feet. But in the 18 games that followed, Williamson went just 2 for 9 deep.

A glance at Williamson’s chart of shots shows that he has been dominant around the rim and hasn’t done much in the mid-range. Could that change as the NBA season restarts?

“Yes, I think there will be parts of my game that you haven’t seen before and that you will see when we start playing,” said Williamson.

Gentry, 65, learned on Wednesday from the NBA that he had been allowed to participate in the resumption of the season. There was some doubt as to whether Gentry would be selected, but after an examination and a range of tests, he was allowed to train in Florida.

“Like I said, everyone has been tough,” said Gentry. “I wish it could have been done sooner. I wish everything would have been decided sooner. It wasn’t, but I’m here. It was my ultimate goal, to be here and train my team, and that’s where I am now. ”

If Gentry had not been allowed to go, he would have been the third Pelicans coach not to have made the trip. Assistant defense head coach Jeff Bzdelik and assistant coach Jamelle McMillan stayed behind – Bzdelik, 67, on the advice of team doctors and McMillan to stay with his newborn son.

Gentry said that although Bzdelik is not present, he will still be involved in the team’s defensive strategy.

“It may come from afar, but he’s going to be involved in every training,” said Gentry. “He will be involved in every game. He will be involved in every game plan situation. He is not here from a physical point of view, but he will always be involved in everything we do here. ”

Still, Pelicans goalkeeper Jrue Holiday said it would be an adjustment not to have Bzdelik and McMillan on the bench.

“I think for the most part, especially around the start of this quarantine, towards the end when we stopped, we started to get into a defensive line,” said Holiday. “I will tell you that I have the impression that we tried to recover it. But to be here [without Jeff and Jamelle] and not having them is a little weird, but I feel like we adjusted well today and did a very good job. “


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