One of the more controversial Milwaukee Bucks offseason moves was the signing of Zaza Pachulia to a three-year, $15 million contract. Many viewed this as too much money for a journeyman backup center, believing they could have found the same value in a one-year deal with other available veterans. As the season closes, let’s take a look and see if the critics were right or if Pachulia earned his contract for the 2013-14 NBA season.
Zaza has been asked to play several roles: First, veteran leader of a very young basketball team, and secondly, backup center for a volatile starting center named Larry Sanders. As far as leadership goes, this has been pretty solid. There have been flare-ups inside the Bucks locker room, but nothing concerning Pachulia. His production has been solid, even better than last season with Atlanta Hawks. Pachulia is averaging seven points, six rebounds and 1.9 assists per game. Also, he has often been called on to start due to multiple Sanders injuries and the occasional bar fight. Pachulia has filled this role well, filling in at the center positions, an area many NBA teams struggle to fill.
Here’s the thing; Zaza works well with the Bucks’ roster going forward. Pachulia is owed $5.2 million each of the next two seasons which may be a little high in general contracts by position, but for the Bucks this is a great price. They get a capable backup center, veteran presence and spot starter for only $5.2 million a year! Oh, and he wants to play in Milwaukee — very important and very rare these days.
David is a NBA writer for Rant Sports. Follow David S. Grant on Twitter @david_s_grant