David Griffin believes how Zion Williamson has been officiated led to his injury.
“We told the NBA through every means available to us … that the way they were officiating Zion was going to get him injured,” said Griffin. “Quite frankly, he’s injured because of the open season that there’s been on Zion Williamson in the paint.”
“He has been absolutely mauled in the paint on a regular basis to the point where other players have said to him, ‘I’m going to keep doing this to you’ because they don’t call it. There is more violence encouraged on him in the paint than any player I’ve seen since (Shaquille O’Neal). It was egregious and horrific then. The same is true now.”
Does Griffin have a point here on Williamson’s injury or is this coming across only as sour grapes?
Pelicans: David Griffin believes refs led to Zion Williamson’s fractured finger
Williamson is an incredibly physical player. He gets the bulk of his points in the paint and by drawing contact to get to the free-throw line. While saying the officiating is what led to Williamson breaking his finger and thus, ending the Pelicans’ season sounds completely ridiculous, this injury may lead to an evolution in Williamson’s game. He is only a second-year NBA player.
Though New Orleans is still technically alive for the play-in tournament, the 11th-placed Pelicans are 30-37 on the year and 2.5 games back of the Southwest Division foe San Antonio Spurs for the last spot in. Without Williamson for the foreseeable future, the Pelicans’ season ended once their star player broke his finger. Griffin blaming the officials here only comes across as whining.
2021-22 is a massive season for Williamson, Griffin and the rest of the Pelicans organization.