3. Dialing down Zion’s workload
In the Pelicans preseason opener to the Atlanta Hawks, Zion led the team in four major categories. He was tied for the team lead in rebounds and turnovers. Zion and fellow rookie Nickeil Alexander-Walker were tied for the team lead in turnovers with four each. The other stat category that he led the team in outright that was very good was steals.
Yet, the more concerning of the two stat categories that Zion led his team in outright in the preseason opener if he shows any injury issues at all was playing time. Zion played in more than 27 minutes on the floor in the 133-109 win over the Hawks earlier this week.
But there’s nothing wrong with leading the team in rebounds and steals. He also managed 16 points and three assists.
The next most playing time for the Pelicans in the preseason opener went to former Los Angeles Lakers point guard and the former No. 2 overall draft pick Lonzo Ball. With all the hype surrounding Zion, it’s easy to forget about what the Pelicans got from the Lakers with the return of Lonzo and former Duke small forward Brandon Ingram.
Heading into the second preseason game for the Pelicans, the coaching staff might want to downplay the time that Zion gets on the floor. Especially if the game starts to get more physical like the Bulls are known for under Boylen (and just throughout this franchise’s history in general), then preserving Zion for the start of the regular season might be the move.
Meanwhile, the Bulls got White more than 25 minutes on the floor and rightly so. The same could happen for him in game two of the Bulls preseason slate.