Pelicans forward Zion Williamson playing limited minutes at beginning of NBA restart

Zion Williamson played limited minutes Thursday. Everyone would have loved to see him out there longer, except Pelicans brass, who are focused on keeping the big guy healthy and letting him build up momentum during the NBA restart. Here’s the New Orleans Times-Picayune reporting:

It was hard not to notice the similarities between Zion Williamson’s professional debut and his performance Thursday in the first game of the NBA’s restart in Kissimmee, Florida.

In each game, he played four short stints at the start of each quarter. Even though his minutes were limited, he put up impressive scoring totals. On Jan. 22, he had 22 points in 18 minutes. On Thursday, he scored 13 points in 15 minutes…

On Friday, Pelicans executive vice president of basketball operations David Griffin cleared the air on why Williamson was used so sparingly in New Orleans’ 106-104 loss to the Utah Jazz.

“I appreciate the fact that everyone wants him to play 40 minutes every night,” Griffin said. “I can promise you he’s not going to. No mistakes were made (Thursday) with how this was handled other than by me coming forward and expressing this in the clearest way possible. This isn’t complicated. He will not play significant minutes in the next game, and he may not in the following game. This is all about the ramp-up time. He didn’t get the benefit of the things that his teammates got for those 13 days. This is going to take some time.”

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