The Dallas Mavericks felt a bit helpless when DeAndre Jordan screwed them over during free agency, but Zaza Pachulia has been an unlikely savior for the team, according to ESPN.
Mark Cuban had a vision in mind when he decided that he needed to reload the Dallas Mavericks roster so that Dirk Nowitzki can get one final run at a second NBA Championship.
A big part of that plan was that Mark Cuban would pair an older and less effective defender in Dirk Nowitzki with DeAndre Jordan, one of the best defensive centers in the entire NBA.
DeAndre Jordan would also team up with good friend Chandler Parsons, who played a huge role in recruiting Jordan, to form a very tall pick and roll tandem that would be unstoppable.
At the last minute, DeAndre Jordan got cold feet and decided to stay with the Los Angeles Clippers, leaving the Dallas Mavericks without a starting center and a viable reloading plan.
Being a quick thinker helped Mark Cuban become one of the few self-made billionaires in the world, so he came up with a new plan so that the Dallas Mavericks can at least compete.
As an emergency solution at the center position, Mark Cuban decided to call up the Milwaukee Bucks to see if they could acquire Zaza Pachulia as a band aid at the pivotal position.
The Milwaukee Bucks were eager to oblige because they needed to clear salary cap space for prized free agent signing Greg Monroe, also a center. They didn’t demand a trade ransom.
There wasn’t much excitement within the Dallas Mavericks fan base on the acquisition of Zaza Pachulia because he has routinely shown that he is a below-average center in the NBA.
Something magical then happened for the Dallas Mavericks when Zaza Pachulia and head coach Rick Carlisle figured out a way for the 31-year-old star to be a fit in the offensive scheme.
By maximizing the strengths of Zaza Pachulia (veteran leadership, court vision, unselfishness, humbleness, etc.), Rick Carlisle was able to get more than just a serviceable starting center.
Zaza Pachulia became a highly suitable complement to Dirk Nowitzki and his skills, and he might even be better at the job than what Tyson Chandler was providing when he was there.
There was an initial fear that Zaza Pachulia and his lack of an outside game would be a hindrance to Dirk Nowitzki, but the two of them have figured it out thanks to good floor spacing.
Remarkably, there are only four players in the NBA (DeAndre Jordan, Anthony Davis, Andre Drummond and Pau Gasol) that have more double-doubles this year than Zaza Pachulia.
Before the emergence of Zaza Pachulia, the Dallas Mavericks were expected to fight for the final NBA Playoffs spot in the Western Conference, but they are now sitting at the fifth spot.
It’s going to be a tough route for the Dallas Mavericks to get the legendary Dirk Nowitzki back into the NBA Finals, especially since the Golden State Warriors are even better this year.
However, Rick Carlisle and Dirk Nowitzki know extremely well that finding the right chemistry and hitting their stride at the right time in the season could lead to great things.
After all, the duo was able to lead a ragtag Dallas Mavericks unit to an NBA title victory over a Miami Heat squad consisting of Dwyane Wade, LeBron James, and Chris Bosh.
It’s not highly likely to happen, but it would mean that Mark Cuban was able to keep his promise to Dirk Nowitzki that he would build him a competitive team in his final years.
[Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images]