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Elephant in the Room

NBA weight watchers say Zion Williamson is currently tipping the scales at a robust 330 pounds

The talk of the NBA midweek has been Luka Doncic, specifically his weight. After three standout campaigns where Doncic looked like a surefire future MVP, he has been banged up and sluggish this season, even if the numbers don’t exactly show it. The issue of Doncic’s fitness came to a head on Tuesday, when Reggie Miller called out his weight during TNT’s broadcast of the Maverick’s loss to the Nets.

“To me, looking at him, this is the heaviest I’ve probably ever seen Luka look, right now,” Miller said. “I know he’s had a long year with the Olympics, but look how he’s plodding up and down. He’s not really running.”

After the game Doncic—who reportedly showed up to training camp weighing 260 pounds the last two seasons—owned up to it, saying that he knows he “has to do better,” among other things.

OK, so fair enough. Somewhat less fair, however, is the fact that anytime the subject of an NBA player’s weight comes up, Zion Williamson’s name inevitably gets dragged through the mud, even if he’s not even remotely involved. On Wednesday, this phenomenon played out in real time on the Zach Lowe podcast, when Lowe asked NBA insider Tim MacMahon how much Williamson could possibly weigh if Doncic was tipping the scales at 260. MacMahon’s answer was a huge red flag.

For those of you crunching the numbers at home, that’s 330 pounds. That’s a big-time yikes, especially for a guy who hasn’t played a game this season due to a nagging foot injury. During his mid-career playing days, Shaquille O’Neal would regularly clock in around 325 pounds … and he’s a full five inches taller than Zion. Shaq was also not expected to drive the lane, shoot jump shots, or play transition defense. Zion is.

Where this saga goes from here is anyone’s guess. While there were concerns about his frame and fitness, Williamson was perhaps the most-hyped NBA prospect since LeBron James when drafted in 2019. Since then he has played just 85 games. You can blame some of that on COVID and some of it on the Pelicans being lousy, but when you weigh 330 pounds as a professional basketball player, you also have to take a long, hard look in the mirror … as much as you might not want to.