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Pelicans-Warriors matchup could lack star firepower, but it’s all about the growing youth for New Orleans anyways

Fingers crossed for Steph vs Didi

NBA: New Orleans Pelicans at Dallas Mavericks Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

The ESPN fight card says the New Orleans Pelicans will battle the Golden State Warriors on Friday, but who doesn’t want to see Stephen Curry vs Didi Louzada?

While it’s blasephemy to suggest a rookie with one game under his belt can slow down the greatest shooter in the league, close followers of the team in New Orleans are salivating at the idea of that individual matchup, myself included. Unless, of course, Steph never leaves the bench.

“We have guys who are legitimately banged up right now. I think we just finished six games in nine days if I’m not mistaken,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr told reporters Thursday. ”Steph [Curry] didn’t practice today, Draymond [Green] didn’t practice, [Andrew Wiggins] Wiggs was limited in practice, Damion Lee is getting a workout now, he’s out for tomorrow but he’s starting to get on the floor a little bit. Eric Paschall practiced fully, so he will play, but there’s a lot of unknowns given how banged-up we are right now.

Golden State Warriors v Washington Wizards Photo by Will Newton/Getty Images

“Draymond’s knee and Steph’s tailbone is still a lingering concern. So this was desperately needed having yesterday off and then today, without playing a game. He’s still wearing the padding, he still feels the soreness so it was good for him to get off his feet the last two days, hopefully he’ll be okay tomorrow.”

The reason that the Warriors may rest Curry, Draymond Green and Andrew Wiggins is because their final game of the regular season against the Grizzlies will determine whether they enter the play-in tournament as the 8th or 9th seed.

The Pelicans’ play-in hopes came to an official end with Wednesday’s loss in Dallas, so it’s all about receiving further validation on the young talent in New Orleans.

To be fair, though, we’ve seen a good amount from Jaxson Hayes, Nickeil Alexander-Walker, Kira Lewis Jr., Naji Marshall and the rest of the roster to know who they are, what they can do and where further strides can be made in their games. We don’t know what Didi can do against NBA competition outside of a brief 15-minute window against the Mavericks.

Louzada certainly impressed with his effort and defense on several possessions, especially when he was pitted against Luka Doncic, but if he gets the chance, Steph represents an entirely different test. Curry utilizes a quicker trigger, greater agility and infinitely more movement. Didi’s physical strength would likely not be as great of an asset. His discipline would be tested like never before.

In addition to the one-on-one defense, will Didi show instances of help defense (when not guarding Steph) and tending to the glass? What about greater flashes on offense? While his 3-point shot remains a work in progress, does he have anything else in his bag?

It’s important to note that Steven Adams, Brandon Ingram and Wesley Iwundu are all listed as questionable for this contest, with Zion Williamson, Lonzo Ball and Josh Hart already ruled out.

Let’s hope the Pels’ vets sit this one out. There’s no reason to push through injury. While the Maverick’s contest failed to be competitive after the first quarter, getting treated to more glimpses from the guys on the roster who will benefit more from these minutes should be the game plan.

Who: New Orleans Pelicans (31-39) at Golden State Warriors (37-33)

When: May 14, 8:30 p.m. Central

Where to watch: ESPN, Bally Sports New Orleans

Where to listen: ESPN 100.3 FM

For more Pelicans talk, subscribe to The Bird Calls podcast feed on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher or Google Podcasts. You can follow this author on Twitter at @OlehKosel.