Georgia’s basketball star Zaza Pachulia picked by top NBA team

Georgian player Zaza Pachulia will move from the Dallas Mavericks to the Golden State Warriors for the next NBA season. Photo from AP., 05 Jul 2016 - 15:10, Tbilisi,Georgia

Georgia’s top basketball export Zaza Pachulia is changing sides and will spend the next season playing in the United States National Basketball Association (NBA) in a championship contender team.

Today it was reported Pachulia, 32, signed a one-year contract with the Golden State Warriors, who finished first in the Western Conference and went on to become NBA champions last season.

The NBA is the pre-eminent men’s professional basketball league in North America and is widely considered to be the premier men’s professional basketball league in the world.

Pachulia spent the 2015-2016 NBA season playing centre for the Dallas Mavericks but became a free agent when his Mavericks contract came to an end at the end of the past season. He was picked by the Warriors to replace Australia’s Andrew Bogut, who in turn was drafted by Pachulia’s former team.

Pachulia’s one-year agreement with the Golden State Warriors will see the Georgian basketballer earn $2.9 million USD over the season.

Yahoo! NBA website reporter Shams Charania today said Pachulia had chosen his new team over more lucrative offers "for the opportunity to potentially start in a line-up” with well-known NBA performers Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Kevin Durant and Draymond Green.

Pachulia had his career-best NBA season for the Mavericks. Photo from J Pat Carter/Getty Images North America.

Both Pachulia and his new team enjoyed a successful 2015-2016 NBA season in their respective performances.

The Georgian centre ranked among the top 10 players in the league for offensive rebounds, a feat he has achieved for the last two seasons.

He also featured among the players leading in the double-double - a match performance where a player achieves double digit numbers in two of five statistical categories.

Following his career-best NBA season, Pachulia ran along with hundreds of other players in a public poll to appear in the league’s All-Star match in February but narrowly missed out in the final results.

The Golden State Warriors, representing Oakland, California in the tournament, enjoyed a 2015-2016 season of broken records including producing the best start in NBA history by winning their first 24 games.

The team reached the NBA finals after topping the Western Conference table before losing to Cleveland Cavaliers in a closely contested seven-game play-off.

The Warriors also boast four NBA titles, fifth most among the league’s teams of all time.

A number of basketball experts praised the Warrior’s team selection of Pachulia as their new centre in a series of tweets today:

A news piece on Golden State of Mind, a community website of Warriors supporters, noted the Georgian player’s high performances were a major factor behind his selection by the California club:

Throughout his 13-year career, Pachulia has provided consistent production and intelligence on both ends of the floor. For the high-powered Warriors, he’ll serve as a player who can pass, defend and hit the occasional midrange jumper without needing a lot of offensive touches,” said the article.

Pachulia joined the NBA in 2003 when he was drafted by Orlando Magic after a successful career start in the Turkish Basketball League.

The regular 2016-2017 NBA season will begin on October 25, 2016.