Zaza Pachulia is terrible

Steph Curry’s in a shooting slump. We’ve only seen the magma-supernova Klay Thompson once or twice this season. Draymond hasn’t even been suspended for kicking dudes in the nuts yet this year. It certainly isn’t the Warriors of old.

One underrated aspect of the 2015-16 Warriors was Andrew Bogut. He couldn’t shoot, nor could he dominate in the post, but his passing from the top of the key and rim protection has been sorely missed this season, largely because human tackling dummy Zaza Pachulia is starting in his place.

Zaza is a horrible basketball player. And I mean “2017 NBA Dunk Contest” bad. His jump shot mirrors a two-handed shot-put, while his interior defense looks like that of a 6-4 40-year-old dad coming off ACL surgery. He’s roughly 10% of the passer Bogut is and offers exactly none of the rim protection. Watching him play basketball is akin to some of the situations described below:

1) Watching a drunk person at a party trying to pick up a bouncing beer pong ball.

Beer pong is the most classic of all the drinking games, but its downside will always be the annoying task of snatching the bouncing pong balls after an opponent’s miss. We’ve all been there. You have called next game on the table, so you’re sitting on the nearby couch watching the game unfold. One dude misses a shot, and the ball caroms off the table and into the oblivion of pre-gaming college students. The opponent of the player who missed the shot is now faced with the duty of repossessing that ball amid the mass of humanity before it’s crushed by someone’s unforgiving footwear. The man, who is inebriated, stumbles into the crowd peering toward the stained hardwood floor. He spots the ball, ricocheting off calfs and boots and chair legs. He thinks he got it, but just as he reaches down, someone bumps him, knocking him off balance, and he tumbles to the ground, pushing the ball further across the room. As he gets to his feet, he stumbles toward where he saw the ball roll, and knocks over a woman in his path who spills her entire drink all over the poor lad. But, this doesn’t discourage him. Eventually, he decides to get on all-fours and crawl through the debauchery. His fingers are constantly stepped on, but he trudges on and finally spots the ball resting in the room’s corner. He smiles, and bear crawls over to the corner but not before hitting his head on the knee-cap of several party-goers. He grabs the ball, clumsily rises to his feet, and holds it up in the air, so everyone surrounding the beer pong table can see.

You, from your comfy spot on the couch, have watched this entire endeavor unfold and just can’t help but chuckle at your buddy’s helplessness.

That’s what it’s like watching Zaza Pachulia play basketball.

2) Watching the kid in tee ball who keeps somehow whiffing

You’re at the tee-ball park with your 5-year-old (who’s surely going to be the next Yankees’ shortstop). There’s one kid on his team who just really isn’t athletic. He looks like the next leader of his high school’s chess club or debate team. He’s a really nice kid, and he’ll likely get into an Ivy League school and be your kid’s boss someday, but for now, he’s an absolutely liability on the tee-ball team.

His turn in the lineup rolls around and you do everything in your power to not audibly grown. See, there are no strikeouts in tee-ball, because, well, the ball doesn’t move. So, usually they’re not necessary. But, for Timmy (his name is Timmy), making contact is akin to swimming across the Atlantic. He whiffs on his first three swings amid encouraging shouts from the crowd behind the dug out. His parents exclaim, “Go Timmy! You got it!” Even though they know and everyone else knows that Timmy most certainly does not have it. Strike 4. Then, strike 5. Strike 6, even. At this point, it’s really awkward and cringeworthy because you never really know if Timmy’s ever going to make contact, and well, you can’t spend all day at the tee-ball park. No one really knows how to handle this situation, and everyone just awkwardly looks on as Timmy whiffs and whiffs and whiffs. You’re noticeably uncomfortable and can’t even watch anymore, so you decide it would be a great time to run to the bathroom quickly.

That’s what it’s like watching Zaza Pachulia play basketball.

3) Watching a tourist try to navigate the subway

I’m not a New Yorker, but through Google Maps and a general knowledge of the geographical layout of the city, I’m able to navigate the underground tunnels rather seamlessly. This, however, is not the case for many tourists. It can be tough to find the meanings of all the signs and maps, and I can only guess that they often end up in the Bronx when really they’re trying to get to the Barclay’s Center in Brooklyn.

These people are usually standing on a street corner (it’s always an entire family) peering at the street signs and stoplights while bustling commuters engulf them into the mass. The dad has a sweatshirt tied around his waist, and the kid is playing Temple Run on his phone while the dad tries to figure out how to get from Central Park to the Statue of Liberty. It’s raining a bit, and a cab drives by and splashes water all over their feet. They decide it would be smarter to stand under cover while they try to gather their whereabouts, so they huddle under the 6-inch overhang against a Starbucks window. The dad looks at a map, the mom tries asking people where to go (only to be turned aside by disgruntled city workers) while the kid has resorted to sitting on the wet sidewalk with his head buried in his phone.

You look on from your 3rd story office window as this hopelessly touristy family fades into the New York City oblivion. You want to help, you do, but you’re so far away and you have work to do, but it’s hard not to cringe and feel awful for people who have been placed in a situation they really have no business navigating.

That’s what it’s like watching Zaza Pachulia play basketball.

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