Over the 2017 NBA Playoffs several players have been accused of being “dirty” or not following the unwritten “ethics” of the game. Most recently, Zaza Pachulia of the Golden State Warriors in the hot seat regarding his actions against the Spurs star Kawhi Leonard.
I’m pretty sure you heard by now that Zaza injured Kawhi Leonard during game 1 of the Western Conference finals. Leonard landed on Zaza’s foot when coming down for a 3-Pointer. Now of course Zaza said he “didn’t mean to do it” and that it was “unintentional, and just part of the game.” However, several people believe that is not the case after several replay and several view from the various camera angles.
Dirty has such a negative connotation; from labeling players to dirty, everybody and their mom giving their two cents, in addition to all the broadcasters and media personalities weighing in on the situation. It takes a lot for a player to be called dirty.
The last legitimate dirty players in the NBA were Rasheed Wallace and Dennis Rodman. Things they were doing back in the day or the “hard playoff fouls” were nothing. As a player, you were expected to take and keep it moving, because refs sure weren’t calling it it. Nowadays, those same “hard playoff fouls” get a player a flagrant 2.
So to slander Zaza Pachulia’s name and call him dirty player at face value is pretty outlandish. We aren’t on the court with him on a nightly basis, nor in the inner circles of everyday NBA conversation among players, but we don’t have enough evidence to condemn him.
Zaza Pachulia is not a dirty player, he would never intentionally use his feet to try and harm an opponent. pic.twitter.com/vAP7lYVU7g
— Joe (@Sp0rtsTalkJoey) May 15, 2017
Yes, he has a few incidents over the course of his career, but not enough to be like “yeah, he’s a dirty player.”
If the injured player wasn’t Kawhi Leonard, and just some random bench player on that the team that has no significant roll, would there be such a huge fuss about whether Pachulia is dirty player? Or we being discussing how unfortunate it was for that player to get hurt and that is was an accident on Pachulia’s part?
If Golden State wins the western conference finals, there’s is a good possibility that the Warriors will be called cheaters for the rest of the year. If the Spurs win, this incident will more than likely get swept under the rug. Game 2 is around the corner, and the Spurs are probably looking for revenge.
But what can they really do, without worrying about repercussions. It’s not like baseball, which the pitch can beam the all-star hitter. Like imagine, throwing a basketball being thrown at Steph Curry’s leg by Patty Mills. All hell would break loose and all out riot would start. Either way, it’s up to you to determine whether Zaza’s physical, aggressive, classic big-man style of play is dirty or good playoff basketball.