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Nicolo Melli answered media questions ahead of this weekend’s NBA Saturdays clash between the New Orleans Pelicans and Oklahoma City Thunder.

What is your impression of the NBA game?

“It’s a very fast league. You know, everyone is running up and down [the court] like crazy. So, I need to get the pace of the game. But besides that, basketball is basketball. More or less it’s the same thing just the pace of the game is a little bit quicker.”

The Pelicans will be on NBA Primetime in Europe against Oklahoma City and Danilo Gallinari on Saturday. What will that be like going against your fellow countryman?

“When you play against guys on your national team and that you’re familiar with it’s always nice. A competition is always a competition and it’s always going to be nice. So, hopefully we get a win.”

How excited are you to know that Italian fans will get to watch you and Danilo?

“It’s nice, you know. Also, in the first four games a lot of friends and people that I know, they stay up late to watch the games live. So, it’s nice to have support overseas.”

Which of your teammates has impressed you the most so far?

“Jackson Hayes. I’ve seen him in practice. You know, he got to play the last game. He was impressive. Hopefully, he’s going to have a bright season in front of him.”

During preseason you and Zion complemented each other well because he slashes to the basket so that left you open and gave you opportunities. How has your game changed because now he’s out with an injury until the middle of next month and how have defenders played you differently?

“I’m keeping everything quiet for when Zion comes back [laughs]. No of course, it’s changed because Zion is such a good player. He attracts the defence and everybody is aware of him and everybody is always thinking about what he can do or what he cannot do. So, it’s easier for everybody else around him to play. But we have a lot of other great players on the team so, more or less, my game is the same.”

What kind of problems does Oklahoma present for you and the Pelicans?

“Oklahoma is a team with a lot of great talent. Danilo is such a great player so we need to be aware on the floor of where the entire team is at all times.”

NBA Saturdays presented by NBA2K20 on Sky Sports – part of a record 48 Primetime games live on Sky Sports starting from 8:30pmevery weekend. This week on 2 November the Oklahoma City Thunder host the New Orleans Pelicans on Sky Sports Mix from 9pm