Wicked Warriors Division: 1. Zaza Pachulia vs. 8. Draymond Green
1. Zaza Pachulia
That’s right, I’m not starting lightly. Anyone who’s anyone in the San Antonio Spurs community feels a certain way about Zaza Pachulia. His antics were well-known in NBA circles, and all came to a (big) head in the 2017 Western Conference Finals.
While a banged-up Kawhi Leonard was already playing on a tweaked ankle against the juggernaut Golden State Warriors in Game 1, Pachulia made a questionable defensive choice. As Leonard was raising for a baseline jumper, Zaza stepped forward underneath his legs before he came down, injuring him further and taking him and the Spurs out of the series for good.
"Should he have done it? No."
In the eyes of many, that single play was the catalyst for the drama that unfolded between Leonard and San Antonio until he was eventually traded, as his injury concerns were supposedly the main factor in why he wanted out of the Alamo City.
The play was dirty enough to warrant a new rule by the NBA unofficially called the “Zaza Rule,” which protects shooters from being undercut by players. The play remains the most impactful thing Pachulia ever did on the basketball court and is the reason he deserves a top spot in this bracket.
8. Draymond Green
If this were a list of unlikable NBA players in general, Draymond Green would definitely not be the eighth seed. The Warriors’ utility man played a key role when surrounded by multiple superstars and wasn’t afraid to let everyone know it.
Green hasn’t done much to the Spurs specifically, but the level to which he irritates almost everyone earns him a spot in this tournament. Draymond has had several questionable moments throughout his career, from kicking players to letting his mouth potentially cost the Warriors a title.
Green, who averaged eight points per game this season, also believes he was crucial in changing the game of basketball during the Warriors’ dominant run, showing his inflated ego. Rudy Gay didn’t feel sorry for Green’s wakeup call of a season this year without a plethora of NBA All-Stars alongside him, and I think most Spurs fans would agree.