Zion Williamson is ‘in fantastic shape,’ on the quest to bounce back

By Johnny Askounis/ [email protected]

Three years after being selected with the first overall pick of the NBA draft, Zion Williamson has been limited to 85 games played with the New Orleans Pelicans and missed the entire 2021-22 season. The best yet to come is gradually emerging as an even safer bet.

His new trainer, Jasper Bibbs, shared his excitement in an update on Williamson. “He’s in fantastic shape,” he recently told The Athletic, “He’s been committed to putting in the work day in and day out. I’m really proud of what he’s been able to accomplish. He’s a better athlete now than he’s ever been.”

A display of confidence. The 22-year-old power forward, a “one-and-done’ player of Duke in 2018-19, has been plagued by injuries since making it to the NBA, reminiscing similar troubling situations of former top draft picks. Signing a five-year rookie extension with the contract worth $193M guaranteed also reportedly holds initiatives concerning his weight, besides the expected bonuses regarding distinctions such as being named MVP or on the All-NBA team.

“We focused on addressing body composition, his body weight, body fat, maintaining and improving flexibility, strength and power,” commented Bibbs, “We also focused on improving his overall fitness. The more weight he carries around, the more stress it puts on the body. We focused on aerobic and anaerobic basketball-specific conditioning. One of the main goals was to get Zion back to the same athletic ability he had before the injury. In the process, he’s improved athletically.”

Williamson seems determined to get his career back on track and accustomed to good habits. Staying healthy and pairing with Lithuanian center Jonas Valanciunas, with CJ McCollum on board as well, the Pelicans have the potential to become a contender in the 2022-23 NBA season.

“I’m very happy with his commitment to not only his conditioning but his commitment to doing all the tedious soft-tissue work, the stretching and his nutrition,” noted Bibbs, “He’s been phenomenal with his nutrition. I’m very happy about that for him. As he continues his NBA career, it’s amazing that he’s starting to develop these habits right now at such a young point in his career.”

Photo Credit: Getty Images

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