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Charles Barkley Roasts Zion Williamson for Not Being Pelicans’ Best Player

The Pelicans were blown off the floor by the Lakers in Thursday night’s NBA in-season tournament semifinal, losing 133–89. 

On a night when New Orleans needed star Zion Williamson to be at his best, he failed to meet the moment. With an opportunity to showcase his skills for a national TV audience in a playoff-type setting, the former No. 1 overall pick registered only 13 points and two rebounds.

Willamson, 23, buckling under pressure was even more egregious when 38-year-old LeBron James looked like a superstar. He led the Lakers with 30 points, including shooting 4-for-4 from three-point range. During the second quarter, James hit three consecutive three-pointers, firing up his teammates and effectively knocking out the Pelicans.

Meanwhile, fans jeered Williamson for looking heavy and out of shape while simply bringing the ball up the court. 

After the Pelicans’ blowout loss, TNT analyst Charles Barkley was extremely critical of Williamson for not fulfilling the expectation of being his team’s best player. 

“He’s got two guys on his team that are better players than him and they shouldn’t be,” said Barkley, referring to Brandon Ingram and CJ McCollum. “He should be the best player and he’s not even close.”

“I’ve told you, “I’ve been very disappointed. He’s averaging six rebounds a game. He’s only had two double-doubles all season,” Barkley continued. “A big guy that talented should never get less than 10 rebounds. He should be averaging 11-12 rebounds a game. But he doesn’t run the floor at all.” 

In fairness to Williamson, neither Ingram nor McCollum played well against the Lakers, each scoring nine points. The Pelicans needed much more from their best players to even have a chance, but instead looked like a team with the eighth-best record in the Western Conference. They likely won’t be better until their star plays line one.