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Ranking all of Steph’s teammates: #16 — Zaza Pachulia

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Nothing easy.

2018 NBA Finals - Game Three Photo by Joe Murphy/NBAE via Getty Images

During his time with the Golden State Warriors, Steph Curry has had 106 teammates who have appeared in at least one game. Some played in exactly one game, while others played in hundreds. Some never actually played in a game that Curry was active for, while others formed historically great partnerships with him.

And I’m ranking all 106 of them before a new season starts and he adds to the tally. Better get a move on.

Players are ranked — and stats are shown — based only on their time as Curry’s teammate. How good/bad they were in other organizations doesn’t matter. How good/bad they were on pre-2009-10 Warriors teams doesn’t matter.


#16 — Zaza Pachulia

The 2017 ESPYS - Show Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images

Games: 139 (19th out of 106)
Points per game: 5.7 (T-49th out of 106)
Rebounds per game: 5.3 (T-14th out of 106)
Assists per game: 1.7 (T-38th out of 106)

If you rank Zaza Pachulia just on stats and advanced metrics, then he’s a bit too high on this list. And if you rank him just on fan sentiment and how much he feels like a part of the Warriors story, then he’s ranked a bit too low.

So instead we place him at No. 16, behind some less important players who are pretty darn good, and ahead of some less important players who are a little bit better than he was.

Pachulia’s importance to the Warriors cannot be overstated. He brought toughness, leadership, and a locker room silliness that made him beloved by Warriors fans and teammates alike. You need look no further than his extremely close off the court friendship with Klay Thompson to see the impact he had; if Klay Thompson calls you a best friend? Yeah, you’re a lovable human (or dog) that brings people together.

He set massive screens. He defended well and intelligently. He made some fun passes. He could finish around the rim but never showed a desire to play a bigger role than he was asked to play.

He was everything you want in a mid-minutes center on a championship team.

And he played two years with the Warriors and won two rings. Pretty good success rate.

These days he’s working in the Warriors front office, still around the team on a day-to-day basis. We wouldn’t want it any other way.

With fewer than 30 players left, I’m going to start listing the remaining names in alphabetic order, to help out with determining whether someone is properly ranked. Here they are:

Harrison Barnes, Andrew Bogut, DeMarcus Cousins, Kevin Durant, Monta Ellis, Draymond Green, Andre Iguodala, David Lee, Shaun Livingston, Kevon Looney, JaVale McGee, D’Angelo Russell, Klay Thompson, David West, Andrew Wiggins

Poll

What do you think of Zaza Pachulia’s ranking?

This poll is closed

  • 16%
    He was better than #16
    (24 votes)
  • 54%
    #16 is about right
    (78 votes)
  • 28%
    He was worse than #16
    (40 votes)
142 votes total Vote Now