“He’s Not In Shape”: Charles Barkley Rips Pelicans Superstar With Scathing Remarks After Noticing Key Problem

Published 12/04/2023, 11:37 PM EST

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While the analytics and deep dive lend a hand in analyzing a team, they also bring some criticisms to the light. That is how Charles Barkley found a pattern in the play of the New Orleans Pelicans superstar. Despite enjoying one of his best years in terms of health, he remains out of shape. As a result, both Kenny “The Jet” Smith and Barkley agreed with their assessment.

Zion Williamson has been constantly under the radar since coming into the league. Whether it was the insane hype before the draft, the injury concerns since, or even off-court controversies, Zanos has been under the microscope. Unfortunately, that microscope now came in the form of the NBA on TNT crew.

Due to the relatively small market, New Orleans hasn’t been a Primetime candidate for much of the year. However, a quarter-final berth in the In-Season Tournament had the crew taking a deep look into their game. And, Chuck did not like what he saw from their superstar. “This is the first time I’m watching 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 Ja [Morant] on offense and defense.” 


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To take a leap, Chuck believes Williamson needs that extra step. “Somebody needs to get a hold of him. He’s going to be somewhat successful, but he could be special…If he were to get in shape, you would not want to play this team. Because Shaq talked about the others, those others are really good. But it’s going to come down to Zion.” 

Both Kenny and the former MVP were counting the number of times that Z broke out into a sprint. “We still stuck at 1.” After critiquing his rebounding efforts, which once again go hand in hand with the effort and hustle argument, Zion needs to find an answer.

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Pels win, but Charles Barkley stands correct


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Despite the Pelicans securing a victory, the Chuckster was correct in his analysis of the game. While the Sacramento Kings did try to mount a comeback, New Orleans was able to hold on to the lead and the victory.

USA Today via Reuters

But it wasn’t the Zion Williamson show. Instead, he was more of a bystander as Brandon Ingram took over, and the role players had a major role in securing the win. At the end of the night, Williamson would finish with just 10 points, the lowest out of their top-6 rotational pieces.


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Nonetheless, with a victory secured, Z will have another chance to validate himself before the tournament is over. Can he mount a comeback?


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My earliest memories of a connection to basketball was through its popularity in my school. Eventually, that gave way to a genuine passion for the sport and the rest, is history. Whether it be gameplay, the tactics, the narratives, or the sheer art on display, the game speaks to me in a way few other things can.
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Edited by:

Pragya Vashisth