Normal NBA scenario: An experienced 7-foot center who averages a career double-double (12 points, 10 rebounds) per 36 minutes joins a championship-caliber team as the new starter. Questions immediately arise as to whether at 32, after a lackluster second half of the 2015-16 season, Zaza Pachulia is really a good fit. Is he fast enough on his feet, can be claim enough minutes, can he anchor a defensive middle well enough to effectively displace current starting center Andrew Bogut — who’s moving on? But this is not a normal scenario.
Current abnormal NBA scenario: Golden State Warriors analysts barely register the 7-foot Pachulia’s arrival. He might work out, he might not. Hardly matters, goes the thinking. Because the Warriors got another 7-footer over the weekend named Kevin Durant. You don’t think of Durant first as a 7-footer because he’s a wing player — a 7-footer who is actually part of the Warriors plan to play a lot of “small ball.” So Zaza Pachulia, a very smart, very savvy man and basketball player has all upside on his one-year, $2.9M Warriors deal. If he does great, then hooray. If the Warriors win less than 70 games there is not a single person — not one — who will point the finger at Zaza Pachulia.