Here are some fun clips. For all intents and purposes, they might as well be the highlights of Zaza Pachulia’s 14-year NBA career.
A pointless, irrelevant, and frustratingly distracting debate that pops up after every occasion of this bullshit concerns intent: Whether Pachulia intended to injure or hurt or clobber or fall on this or that opponent, or if it happened as an incidental result of his limitations and how he plays basketball. The simple and only answer in all instances is, it doesn’t fucking matter. For example, when Pachulia dropped all of his 270 pounds on Russell Westbrook’s legs for no visible reason on Saturday evening: If he did this on purpose, as Westbrook believes (and no honest observer could sincerely dispute), then he is a fucking goon who can’t be trusted to participate in NBA games, and has no business on the court. If he sprawled onto Westbrook’s legs for no visible reason on accident, then he is a clumsy fucking doofus who can’t be trusted to participate in NBA games, and has no business on the court.
(Here is where some number of internet paratroopers will skip down to the comments to beat their chests and grunt performatively in advocacy of such things as “old-school physical play” and “toughness” and “intimidation” and such. Bullshit. Theatrically dropping oneself onto a prone opponent’s legs is not an act of hairy-chested physical ruggedness. It is petty coward shit. If you want to hurt Russell Westbrook—or Kawhi Leonard, or Udonis Haslem, or whoever else—have the self-respect to punch him in the fucking face. For chrissakes, Bobby Portis wanted to hurt Nikola Mirotic and punched him in the fucking face, even though they were teammates.)
(Here is also where a different set of commentators will break out their protractors and plumb bobs to obfuscate things with the question of intent and explanations of how Pachulia’s belly-flop could have been purely accidental. Again: It does not fucking matter. If anything, the physics-based defense of Pachulia’s long track record of this type of shit makes his case even worse, as it forces you to the conclusion that he is not nearly good enough at standing to play basketball without endangering fellow players.)
The Golden State Warriors are the fifth team to have employed Zaza Pachulia; Warriors fans are the fifth set to hem and haw and make increasingly transparent and ineffectual tributes to Pachulia’s, uh, passing skills or screen-setting skills or boxing-out skills whenever anybody points out that his primary professional utility is his willingness to distribute his six fouls painfully (or his inability to prevent himself from doing so). For the love of God, enough. A filing cabinet can set a screen. The world contains no shortage of tall oafs who can be taught to find good places to stand still on an NBA court for a living, so that players of actual basketball skill can move around them. Maybe just get rid of this one before he destroys the career of somebody who can actually play.