Pelicans focus on better health, starting with Zion Williamson

Zion ready for 5th season, says 'best is yet to come' (0:36)

Pelicans forward Zion Williamson explains how his offseason preparation will lead to his best NBA season yet. (0:36)

Zion Williamson's struggles to stay on the court have been well-documented, and the 23-year-old New Orleans Pelicans forward sought to do his part to try to change that this summer.

Speaking at media day Monday in New Orleans, Pelicans executive vice president of basketball operations David Griffin said that Williamson invested heavily in his personal training staff this offseason.

"Zion is obviously in good condition," Griffin told reporters. "The thing I think is important is CJ [McCollum] and Brandon [Ingram], throughout their careers, have always employed people to take care of their body, to take care of their nutrition.

"They are really invested in their profession. This was the first summer where we've seen Zion take his profession seriously like that and invest in it off the court on his own in a way that I think is meaningful."

Williamson said he thinks the "best is still yet to come" and that he made a lot of changes this offseason.

"Worked on movements, staying in New Orleans for a good part of the summer working with the Pels and being on the same page with them and my personal trainers," Williamson said. "But just really locking into every aspect of my body."

Williamson played in just 29 games last season and missed the final 45 because of a hamstring strain suffered on Jan. 2.

But Williamson wasn't the only Pelican to miss time. Ingram played in just 45 games, Jose Alvarado missed the last month and a half, and McCollum and Larry Nance both played through several injuries late.

The Pelicans made a change to their medical staff in the offseason, shifting Aaron Nelson to a special advisory role.

In his place, head athletic trainer Tom Maystadt, director of sports and performance Daniel Bove and the newly hired Amy Atmore, the team's director of rehabilitation, will form what Griffin termed a "three-headed monster" in the medical area. Dr. Scott Montgomery, the team's orthopedic surgeon, also will play a bigger role.

Griffin and general manager Trajan Langdon said a lot of the change was spawned from end-of-year meetings with the players.

"It certainly took into account all of the games we had been missing. It was more process-driven," Griffin said. "It was the means by which we communicate. ... I don't think philosophically, the staff is going to be that much different. I think what's going to be different is when we might have had power in a much smaller group of hands, we are going to have far more voices in the process."

While Griffin admitted there was some bad luck involved with the injuries from a season ago, the team has to be able to do what it can to change that.

"We can't just hope we are healthy," Griffin said. "We have to make really measured decisions about making this team better. I think everybody understands there is a great deal riding on this season. It's less, 'We must win this much.' It's more, 'The process must improve to this point.' We can continue to show sustained success."