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Why didn’t Zion Williamson play more minutes vs. Jazz? Alvin Gentry from Pelicans offers a confusing explanation

Ja Rule – yes, Ja Rule – spoke to everyone who watched the Pelicans-Jazz matchup on Thursday evening (WARNING: BAD LANGUAGE BELOW).

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After re-entering the NBA campus after an apologized absence and exempted from playing in the restart opener, Pelicans rookie Zion Williamson scored 13 points in just 15 minutes when New Orleans fell to Utah in a tightly contested game. Williamson played the first five minutes of the fourth quarter, but never came back after he was eliminated with 7:19 to go.

When asked about Williamson sitting on the couch while Jazz took control of the game, Pelicans coach Alvin Gentry told reporters the 20-year-old had a one-minute limitation.

“Well, of course we wish we could have played him a little bit, but we had used the minutes given to us. That’s how it is. We wouldn’t hold him back, ”said Gentry. . “Our medical people said we were playing in the minutes allowed [for] us to play it, and we just move on.

“I thought he looked good. I thought he had some good moments, and we’re clearly a much better and a completely different basketball team when he’s on the ground. ”

Gentry’s explanation is confusing for a few reasons. First, Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports reported prior to tipoff Williamson would play in “short bursts,” but noted that he wouldn’t necessarily have a minute restriction. So did Williamson have a burst plan, a minute restriction, or both?

Second, if Gentry knew that Williamson couldn’t play for more than about 15 minutes, didn’t he plan to save some of those minutes in case the Pelicans needed Williamson during crunch time? Every seeding game is important to the Pels as they fight against multiple Western Conference teams for the final playoff spot. If the New Orleans coaching staff hadn’t considered this scenario, it’s a big mistake.

And third, what is Williamson’s status at the moment? Williamson said he did not suffer any recent medical setbacks after the loss and denied sitting due to conditioning issues.

“Not even just conditioning, it brings my flow back to the game,” said Williamson. “This is the NBA. These are the best players in the world. You want to feel comfortable. I don’t want to hurt my team more than I help them in a way.”

Williamson is the future of the franchise. If there is a risk of serious injury, he should clearly not play. No reasonable person would question the Pelicans’ decision-making process in that situation.

However, this seems to be more of a communication problem. For the Pels to make a playoff push, everyone must be on the same page.

Otherwise, Ja Rule (and the rest of us) keeps asking the same question.

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