Hawks Will Be Without Zaza Pachulia For Rest Of Season

Zaza Pachulia

The wedge between the Miami Heat and the rest of the Eastern Conference just got a little bigger. Like the Indiana Pacers, the Atlanta Hawks will go into this year’s playoffs without an important player. Zaza Pachulia, their solid reserve center, will undergo surgery on his right Achilles tendon, effectively ending his season.

Zaza Pachulia
Dec 21 2012 Philadelphia PA USA Atlanta Hawks center Zaza Pachulia 27 during the fourth quarter against the Philadelphia 76ers at the Wells Fargo Center The Sixers defeated the Hawks 99 80 Howard Smith USA TODAY Sports

Earlier this year, the Hawks lost a potent scoring threat in guard Lou Williams, who went down with a bad knee injury. Though the Hawks have been a perennial first and second round playoff exit, the loss of Lou’s scoring punch (the Hawks rank 15th in PPG) and Pachulia’s scrappy physical play and rebounding (Hawks are currently ranked 23rd in the NBA), will not bode well for them. With the loss of Pachulia, the Hawks only have All-Star-caliber Al Horford and seven-footer Johan Petro at players taller than 6-foot-10. Considering that they will potentially face Joakim Noah, Kevin Garnett, or more likely, Brook Lopez in the playoffs, their lack of height will be a detriment.

Atlanta has played borderline-good basketball without Pachulia, going 6-and-4 for the last ten games, but have seen their winning percentage take a big dip since the loss of Zaza on March 3. For the month of February, the squad posted a 63.6% winning percentage, but have been a lowly 44.4% in the winning department for March.

To make matters worse for the Hawks, depending on how you cut it, Pachulia will be an unrestricted free agent this summer, and might not return to ATL.

Though Zaza isn’t one to post Lebron-like, or even Al Harford-like, numbers, having posted 5.9 points, 6.5 rebounds, and 1.5 assists over the course of 52 games this season, the Hawks will miss his play. As coach Larry Drew made clear when the surgery was announced, Zaza brings a playoff intensity to every game. That type of intensity can be as rare as talent in today’s game.


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Bogar Alonso
Bogar Alonso is a dedicated student of the hardwood, soccer pitch, boxing ring, and tennis court. He is a regular NBA contributor to XN Sports. His work, involving more than just sports, has appeared on The Creators Project, A&E Networks, XXL Magazine, and others. Follow Bogar on Twitter @blacktiles