West Notes: Pelicans, Zion Williamson, Warriors, Jazz

Pelicans

Power forward Zion Williamson is expected to return from a right foot contusion for Monday’s home game vs. the Warriors, per Andrew Lopez of ESPN.

“As of now I can say I’m definitely playing Monday,” Williamson said, via Lopez. “I don’t see why I wouldn’t at this point. Had enough time off it. The pain seems to be gone at this point.”

Williamson has missed the previous three games and is averaging 23.5 points and 6.4 rebounds in the 11 that he has appeared. He missed all of last season after suffering a broken bone in the same foot.

“It was a moment where I was kind of scared like, ‘Man, I ain’t trying to go through this again. I just went through it,'” Williamson said, via Lopez. “But the scans were positive outside of the bruise.”

Warriors

Center James Wiseman is shrugging off the critics who suggest the Warriors should have taken Hornets guard LaMelo Ball with the No. 2 overall pick in the 2020 NBA Draft. (Ball went third; Wiseman second.)

“I have been through a lot of hard times,” Wiseman told Sean Deveney of Heavy Sports. “I have seen the negative side of social media in terms of myself. I don’t entertain that stuff anymore because it is negative and it is all gossip. I just focus on my priorities, getting in the gym and get better, working on stuff so I can be ready for the games.”

Wiseman was recently sent to the G League after an uneven start to the season.

“He has looked (like he’s) in over his head,” a Western Conference coach told Deveney. “You can’t have him on the floor with (Draymond Green) because they get real easy to guard with them together. And you can’t have him out there with a big role with the second unit because he is not good enough to carry that group. What do you do with him? I don’t think they know, so he is going to be down there (in the G League) because at least you know he will be on the floor.”

  • The Warriors improved to 7-1 at home after Friday’s win over the Knicks, but remain 0-8 on the road entering Saturday’s game. “I’m actually much more interested in why we’re not playing well on the road than why were are playing well at home,” coach Steve Kerr told reporters. “I expect to play well at home. We’ve got a good record here over the years and good players, great fans. No reason we shouldn’t control our home court. But we got to start putting it together on the road, too.”

Jazz

  • Forward Lauri Markkanen is off to an All-Star start with his new team, and Jazz coach Will Hardy said he could still get better. “I don’t know what the ceiling is on Lauri,” Hardy told reporters. “I don’t think any of us do based on what we are watching night in and night out.”
  • Markkanen has five games of at least 30 points, as the Jazz have raced to an 11-6 record (through Friday). “His teammates know how good he is and how good he can be and they are probably empowering him more than I am,” Hardy said.
  • Markkanen tallied 38 points in a big home win over the Suns on Friday. “Really, it was a lot of layups a lot of dunks,” he said. “Teammates passed me the ball when I was open and we ran some good stuff for easy looks.”
  • New Jazz guard Collin Sexton, Markkanen’s former teammate with the Cavaliers, is averaging 13.3 points in his first season in Utah. Sexton has come off the bench in all but one of the Jazz’s first 17 games.

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