Charles Barkley has voiced his concerns about Zion Williamson’s conditioning, and didn’t hold back when talking about his lacklustre performance against the Kings.
In Monday’s In-Season Tournament elimination game against the Kings, Zion went missing.
The 2019 number one Draft pick scored ten points, to go with six rebounds and six assists, while his teammates Herb Jones and Brandon Ingram actually won the Pelicans the game.
“Me and Kenny [Smith, who also remarked that Zion was out of shape], were watching,” Barkley explained on TNT. “And this is the first time that I’mma sit and watch Zion play a full game. He’s not in shape. He doesn’t run. He plays the game strictly on talent. He never runs on the fast break. He’s kinda like jogging on offense and defense.”
Barkley’s criticisms of Zion’s effort is nothing new, but he also drew comparisons to his own career and how Moses Malone was very critical of him at the 76ers when he was a rookie, which worked as a motivator.
“Somebody has got to get a hold of him because he’s got so much talent,” Barkley continued. “He’s gonna be somewhat successful[…]He could be special. But see, I don’t know if he has a Moses Malone, who told me I was fat and lazy. Like, he owns that organization already. But if he could get in shape, this team, you would not want to play this team. Because Shaq talking about those others? Those others, man, are really good. But it’s gonna come down to Zion. And he needs to get in shape.”
Chuck speaking from experience is interesting because although Malone was harsh, he helped Barkley lose 50 pounds and make the All-Rookie team that year.
As for Zion, because of his size and shape, he’s spent an enormous amount of time on the sidelines in his young career.
He has played in 18 of 22 of NOLA’s game so far this season, so let’s hope he can stay healthy, as well as motivated.
RELATED ARTICLE: Why Zion Williamson Staying Healthy Might Be Physically Impossible