Ric Bucher: “I’ll be honest, Zion is dynamic offensively but he’s TERRIBLE defensively… Everybody knows that Zion is a future star and you’re building the team around him, but as you coach the team and you’re asking everyone to play defense and to follow certain principles, you can’t make exceptions for the new guy who’s not playing that much. You can run plays for him and you can do a lot of things for him, but some of the habits and some of the things that he’s doing on the other end are just bad and lackadaisical defensive decisions. People don’t seem to be looking at THAT end of the floor. Considering how electric he is offensively, the idea that he would get to -16 (vs. Utah on 7/30) is extraordinary. You have to be really bad defensively to get to that number considering how he gets buckets out of nothing… Defensively he’s a mess, and I feel like If I were trying to win a game at the end when it slows down, I’d want everyone to be connected defensively. Al Gentry can’t say what I just said, which is ‘HE’S HORRIBLE DEFENSIVELY. He’s a great player and we love him, but he just SUCKS defensively, so I can't play him the last couple minutes of the game.’ You can’t really go there if you’re the head coach.”
Listen to Ric Bucher explain to Jason Smith and Mike Harmon the real reason why he believes the New Orleans Pelicans have shied away from playing rookie phenom Zion Williamson at the end of the games, as Bucher says it’s much more about Williamson’s ‘terrible defense’ than it is the idea of the team’s concerns over his lack of conditioning.
Check out the interview above as Bucher details why he thinks fans need to pay closer attention to Pelicans games, and realize how awful of a defender Zion really is, and why he’s a major liability being on the court late in the fourth quarter.