It’s probably premature to call it “Weight-gate,” but the subject of Zion Williamson’s physique and level of conditioning has continued to loom large in NBA chatter. The latest to weigh in, as it were, was Charles Barkley, who said Tuesday that both the Pelicans rookie and 76ers center Joel Embiid need to slim down.
The man who brought a “Round Mound of Rebound” nickname with him to the NBA knows a thing or two about carrying some extra poundage, and began his discussion of Williamson by saying of the start to his own pro career in 1984, “I was fat.”
By contrast, Barkley claimed in an appearance on ESPN, Williamson “doesn’t look fat at all.” Yet he followed that assertion by saying of the No. 1 overall draft pick, who was listed at 6-foot-7 and 285 pounds during his one season at Duke, “I hear he weighs 280 — he can’t play at 280 in the NBA.
“He can’t play at that weight, it’s too much stress on his knees,” Barkley continued. “He’s so big and he’s so strong, but everybody in the NBA is big and strong.”
The comments echoed those made by a scout who spoke to The Post’s Ben Golliver at the NBA’s summer league in Las Vegas. “There’s no nice way to say [Williamson] has to lose weight,” the scout said. “But he has to lose weight.”
Williamson did not get much of a chance to do so at summer league after knee-to-knee contact sent him to the sidelines having played just nine minutes. That wound up being enough time for some observers to express alarm over his appearance, given that his unusually bulky physique had already generated questions about his potential career longevity.
In the meantime, issues about Embiid’s conditioning are some distance much less hypothetical and has been a steadily raised matter during the last two seasons. In Might, right through Philadelphia’s heartbreaking, second-round loss to the Raptors, an individual conversant in the placement advised The Publish’s Candace Buckner that Embiid needed to paintings to get all the way down to a really perfect enjoying weight of 275 kilos.
Barkley mentioned Tuesday that the 76ers’ good fortune this season will come all the way down to Embiid and teammate Ben Simmons, who “has set to work on his recreation,” particularly his outdoor taking pictures.
An established standout for the 76ers in his personal proper, Barkley recalled that after he first were given to Philadelphia, Moses Malone — the “maximum necessary individual in my lifestyles, basketball-wise” — advised him, “You’re fats and also you’re lazy.” Barkley mentioned he used to be forced to lose 50 kilos, and “the remainder used to be historical past.”
“I’m wondering, in Philadelphia, who has the braveness and the chutzpah to inform Joel Embiid, ‘Yo, guy, you were given to get in form,’ ” Barkley mentioned.
That ended in a query about Williamson, with ESPN’s Mike Greenberg mentioning contemporary feedback via Duke Trainer Mike Krzyzewski, who mentioned the previous Blue Satan “by no means will have to’ve performed” in summer time league. As a result of Williamson had “been in this circuit of awards” following his sterling freshman season, Krzyzewski mentioned, he wasn’t “within the enjoying form or the psychological form to play” in Las Vegas.
Williamson’s transient look at summer time league used to be sufficient for ESPN analyst Seth Greenberg to mention, “You’ll’t support until you’re in form, and he isn’t in form. … Presently, he’s in situation to get harm, to not be a perfect participant.”
Doug Gottlieb of Fox Sports activities 1 said just lately that Williamson “higher purchase a ‘frame man’,” whose activity it might be to “practice him round and stay him in form.” Gottlieb added that the Pelicans celebrity would additionally wish to “have a chef,” as a result of “he has to drop some pounds, in a different way he runs the danger of the ones untimely accidents.”
“I don’t know what Zion’s absolute best frame weight goes to be,” Barkley mentioned prior to getting amusing via including, “I believed 300 used to be my absolute best enjoying weight in faculty.”
“I needed to lose 50 kilos to transform a Corridor of Famer,” Barkley persisted. “I feel [Williamson has] were given a perfect device down in New Orleans. I really like [head of basketball operations] David Griffin and [head coach] Alvin Gentry, however they’re going to must get a hold of a complete plan to peer what the very best enjoying weight is.”
The excellent news for Williamson is that he’s arriving within the NBA as any such determine of fascination that even the briefest of stints in summer time league, months prior to he’ll wish to be in top shape for the beginning of the common season, has been sufficient to spark animated discussions across the basketball international.
Join our weekly NBA e-newsletter to get the most efficient basketball protection for your inbox
WNBA participant suspended 10 video games after home violence arrest
Girls are extra not unusual on NBA sidelines. Now they would like their presence to really feel customary.
How Gersson Rosas, a Colombian immigrant, changed into the primary Latino to run an NBA staff