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Preview: Warriors battle Zion for first time as Pelicans visit Chase

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Can defensive stalwart Draymond Green keep New Orleans’ star rookie from dominating the injured Dubs?

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New Orleans Pelicans v Golden State Warriors Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images

The last place Golden State Warriors are set for a clash with a New Orleans Pelicans squad desperately fighting for a playoff berth. The limping Warriors have already won two out of three against the Pelicans this season, but those contests happened before New Orleans unleashed rookie monster Zion Williamson on the league.

Williamson has been wreaking havoc and punishing defenders after missing most of the season recovering from knee surgery. But if there’s anyone who can slow him down, I’d bet money on it being the former Defensive Player of the Year Draymond Green.

This game should be fast-paced and wide open, and the Williamson-Green battle should be well worth the price of admission. Make sure to grab your tix for the Sunday matinee at Chase Center!

GAME DETAILS

WHO: Golden State Warriors (12-44) vs New Orleans Pelicans (24-32)

WHEN: Sunday, February 23rd, 2020; 5:30 pm PST

WATCH: NSBA, NBATV, FSNO

Season Series: Warriors lead 2-1

TICKETS: Buy tickets on StubHub

We’re 11 games into the Zion Experience, and the 19-year old is putting up some very respectable numbers. The young phenom is averaging 22.4 points and 7.2 rebounds per game on 57.8% shooting from the field. The 6-foot-6, 285 pound dynamo has the size and athletic advantage on pretty much every defender in his path, and he’s already becoming notorious for straight bullying opponents at the rim.

Why is this youngster bullying grown men like they are high schoolers?! Willamson’s shot chart looks like a supernova explosion around the hoop.

Zion Williamson’s shot chart through 11 games
Cleaning the Glass

After breezing his way to 25 points on 10-of-17 shooting from the field Friday night, he reminded ESPN that he’s not a finished product:

“Even though I’m a rookie and people think I’m doing good there’s still so much I have to learn,” he said. “There’s so much about the game I’m still learning, I feel like by year four, five I’m gonna have all that down.”

Experience is the best teacher, and the rookie is about to get a primer in NBA defense when he faces the Dubs’ defensive anchor, Draymond Green.

Green hasn’t had much to be excited about this season while babysitting several new Warriors as the Splash Bros recuperate. But it’s well documented that Green gets up for defensive challenges like these. Green wouldn’t have become a multiple time All-Star if he couldn’t eagerly deter bruisers like Blake Griffin and DeMarcus Cousins.

Pelicans GM David Griffin brought up Green when discussing Williamson’s capabilities, per The Athletic:

The thing about Zion, though, that excites us is, it’s not that he’s going to carry you offensively, it’s that he’s going to be able to facilitate offense. If you look at him as an extremely athletic Draymond Green type who may be able to facilitate all things for others and get out in transition and make plays.

If Green can limit the rook, the Dubs will have an excellent chance to steal their 13th win of the season. They were blown out of their building last game by the Houston Rockets, and will look to acquit themselves with a strong performance against the Pellies.

Wanna see the Green-Williamson clash up close? Buy your tickets here via StubHub. Vox Media has affiliate partnerships. These do not influence editorial content, though Vox Media may earn commissions for products purchased via affiliate links.