The reason Steve Kerr is the perfect coach for the Warriors, reveals Zaza Pachulia
Zaza Pachulia only played two seasons under Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr, but the multi-titled tactician left a lasting impact in his life both on and off the court.
The 36-year-old Georgian-Turkish center recently opened up why how big of an impact Kerr has in the Warriors’ winning culture over the last few years. Pachulia revealed how Kerr genuinely cares for his team’s well-being and establishes a rapport far greater than the typical player-coach relationship.
“Steve called me one day after the practice and he goes, ‘Zaza, is everything OK?’ And I’m like ‘What do you mean, coach? I’m fine. I’m healthy.’ And he was like ‘No, how do you feel on the court?” Pachulia reminisced to NBC Sports’ Ali Thanawalla.
The 6-foot-11 big recalled how out of place he felt the first time he joined the Dubs’ high-octane system in 2016. Guided by Kerr’s assurance and belief in him, Pachulia came out of his shell and figured his role with the team.
The one-time NBA Coach of The Year winner took the time to explain to Pachulia how important he was to his Warriors teammates. That pep talk was all Zaza needed to shake off his blues.
“And that was the game-changer, where I said ‘That’s so true.’ It’s about what your coaches and teammates think about you. And they love seeing you on the team and appreciate what you bring for them and how you help them. So that was the game-changer. I literally locked everything off and it was a learning experience for me. It was a lesson where, don’t listen to outsiders, and who cares?” he said.
While Pachulia was simply a glorified role player for the Warriors, his intimidating post presence came in handy for them in winning back-to-back titles in 2017 and 2018. He notched 5.7 points and 5.3 rebounds in 139 games in The Bay.
Steve Kerr, meanwhile, still has his doubters even after leading Golden State to three titles. Some still view him as an extremely lucky coach who landed in a good spot, but looks like he truly is a remarkable leader and even better human being.