- Pelicans boss David Griffin has been fined $50,000 for criticizing how his star player Zion Williamson is roughed up by other players
- Williamson suffered a broken left index finger while attempting to get a rebound in Tuesday’s 108-103 win over the Golden State Warriors
- He is out injured indefinitely, as his Pelicans team desperately need to win their final games of the regular season to qualify for the playoffs
- Griffin said NBA officials were not giving Williamson enough protection
The NBA has fined New Orleans Pelicans executive David Griffin $50,000 for publicly criticizing officials over how star Zion Williamson is handled and making comments the league considered detrimental.
The decision came two days after Griffin, the Pelicans´ executive vice president of basketball operations, spoke out strongly about his concerns on the amount of contact NBA referees allow Williamson to endure.
Williamson is currently out indefinitely after breaking his left index finger while attempting to get a rebound in Tuesday’s 108-103 win over the Golden State Warriors
The injury occurred on a play where he did not appear to be fouled.
His Pelicans team desperately need to win their final games of the regular season to qualify for the playoffs.
Griffin said the Pelicans have told league officials many times that they feared Williamson was being exposed to injury because of the way defenders are allowed to play against the 6-foot-7, 284-pound forward.
‘We told the NBA through every means available to us … that the way they were officiating Zion was going to get him injured,’ Griffin said.
He added: ‘Quite frankly, he’s injured because of the open season that there’s been on Zion Williamson in the paint.
‘He has been absolutely mauled in the paint on a regular basis to the point where other players have said to him, “I’m going to keep doing this to you” because they don’t call it.
‘There is more violence encouraged on him in the paint than any player I’ve seen since (Shaquille O’Neal). It was egregious and horrific then. The same is true now.’
Williamson is averaging 27.0 points and 7.2 rebounds per game this season.
The Pelicans began Sunday two games behind San Antonio for 10th place and the final play-in tournament berth in the Western Conference