A new appreciation for Pachulia; West’s spotty start; Which bigs are good enough to play against Warriors’ smalls?

I had an opportunity to talk Warriors basketball with Greg Papa during his show on 95.7-FM The Game on Monday. Below is a link to that interview. Among the topics of conversation during the 20-minute discussion were some of the following:

–Just how valuable is center Zaza Pachulia, who has missed the past two games with a wrist injury? While Pachulia has drawn some criticism from the media and fans at times, it’s apparent right now he represents the best center on the team not named Draymond Green.

But you can’t play Green too many minutes at the five, and the Warriors are going to have to find someone to give them a little boost in there. I’m not sure if JaVale McGee, Anderson Varejao or James Michael McAdoo are going to be able to cut it — at least not when the games are high stakes.

So, the question becomes: Can Pachulia, Kevon Looney, David West and perhaps even rookie Damian Jones hold down the middle when it’s not being held down by Green? We’ll see. But don’t be surprised if general manager Bob Myers goes sniffing around for another big.

–As for West, the question becomes whether he can become a consistent rotation player on this team. Coach Steve Kerr has given him plenty of opportunity, and likely will continue to do so, but West has been spotty for the first part of the season.

But he was terrific in the fourth quarter against the Timberwolves on Sunday, and in fact, made a play I never thought he could make. Turned out to be a key play in the game, too.

–It always seems to come down to this with the Warriors: Does the other team have two big players it can play at the same time and still be effective against Golden State’s “small” lineup, the one with Green at center and Durant at power forward?

The Clippers haven’t proven they can do it. The Spurs — with Pau Gasol and LaMarcus Aldridge — did it on opening night to some extent. And on Wednesday, though they didn’t play together for long stretches, Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph had success vs. Golden State. What we’ve seen is the Warriors will eat alive limited big men. However, if you’ve got a big man with some smarts, skill and, in an ideal world, some athleticism, you might see some good things against Warriors’ small unit.

Link to interview with Greg Papa on 95.7-FM The Game.






About Steinmetz

Matt Steinmetz is a veteran San Francisco Bay Area sports journalist. He covered the Golden State Warriors for the Bay Area News Group for more than a decade before becoming a television analyst with Comcast SportsNet Bay Area. Steinmetz can be heard on "Steiny & Guru" on 95.7-FM The Game in San Francisco, from 12-3.
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