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Pels Griffin: We Mishandled Zion’s Injury

It’s nice to see people admit when they get something wrong, isn't it?

Milwaukee Bucks v New Orleans Pelicans
NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA - FEBRUARY 04: Zion Williamson #1 of the New Orleans Pelicans shoots against Giannis Antetokounmpo #34 of the Milwaukee Bucks during a game at the Smoothie King Center on February 04, 2020 in New Orleans, Louisiana. 
Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images

Well this is interesting and unexpected: after signing former Blue Devil Zion Williamson to a rookie max extension, Pelicans exec David Griffin had some interesting things to say.

Specifically, that he and the team had done a really bad job with Williamson in some respects: “We did a really bad job organizationally at getting him in front of people and letting him speak for himself. Because he wasn’t playing basketball, being around the game was hard for him. I didn’t require him to speak to the media and he didn’t want to speak because he wasn’t playing. He wanted that to be for people who are playing.”

This of course led to the rumors about him being detached or having one foot out the door. None of it was true, as we now know, and in retrospect it seems obvious that he would want the focus to be on his teammates. Remember the Mike Buckmire trick, where he’d focus the attention on walk-on Buckmire rather than himself?

It was cool, it was funny...but it was also an artful deflection.

Williamson seems to genuinely love the game. He plays with a lot of exuberance thats not faked.

But he’s always struck us as a reserved guy who sees the attention as the price he has to pay to play the game he loves.

It’s interesting to see Griffin realizing he should have pushed him out front a bit. It’ll be more interesting to see how far Williamson is willing to take that.