Continuing the Know Thy Self series, where we meet the roster of the 2012-2013 Atlanta Hawks, we take a look at Zaza Pachulia. While Zaza has been a Hawk for 7 years, there are still probably a few things you didn't know about him. Let's find out.
Born: 2/10/1984 in Tbilisi, Republic of Georgia
Tbilisi is a city of over a million residents (1.5M in the metro area) laying on the banks of the Kura River. It's been the capital of Georgia for about 1500 years. The Republic of Georgia has only been an independent modern country since the breakup of the Soviet Union, but it was only annexed by Russia around 1800. The Kingdom of Georgia actually dates back to around 1100 BC when it was the kingdoms of Colchis and Iberia. Jason and the Argonauts went there in search of the Golden Fleece. Bordering the Black Sea, Georgia has always been a popular target for conquest. The Georgian kingdoms spent about 400 years as part of the Roman Empire. The greatest King in Georgian history was probably David IV the Builder. Ruling from 1089 to 1125, he inherited the throne at the age of 16. David created an army and a peasant militia and stopped Turkish conquest. He drove the Turks from the region uniting most of the Caucasus range under Georgian rule.
In calling out famous people from Tbilisi, I'd like to focus more modern times. For straight up fame from Tbilisi, you can't argue with Joseph Stalin. Among the Bolshevik revolutionaries who brought about the Russian Revolution in 1917, he was head of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union from 1922-1952. In music, Georgia's most popular singer is arguably Lela Tsurtsumia, who has been described as pop/soul with a touch of folk music. You can judge for yourself. Another musician of note is Sopho Khalvashi who was the first to represent Georgia in the Eurovision Song Contest in 2007. Most famous athlete from Georgia? It's got to be Zaza, but I must say that Georgia has produced a high number of chess grandmasters as well.
Since Zaza was recruited to play with a Turkish pro team (Ulkerspor) as a teenager, I going to give another bit of Georgia history, actually pre-history. Two Homo erectus skulls (H. georgicus) were discovered at Dmanisi in southern Georgia in 1999 and 2002 respectively.. The archaeological layer in which the human remains were unearthed is dated approximately 1.6-1.8 million years ago. The site yields the earliest evidence for presence of early humans outside the African continent.
Personal Notes: Zaza was a 2nd round pick of the Orlando Magic in 2003. He was chosen by Charlotte in their expansion draft but dealt to Milwaukee. After one season there, he was signed by Atlanta for 4 years/16 Million dollars for the rebuilding process initially starting at center. Off the court, Zaza has a love of fashion and has served as Style Editor for Hoops Magazine for many years. Zaza also has ventured into being a restaurateur and is co-owner of the Buckhead Bottle Bar & Bistro. This summer Zaza took executive business classes at Harvard. A brute, maybe, but mindless? Never.
ESPN Top 500 rank: 223 just behind Corey Maggette(221) and Bismack Biyombo (22), but just ahead of Greivis Vasquez (224) and Marco Belinelli (225).
basketball-reference.com sponsorship price: $35 - think of this as a Q-rating for basketball. Better known players have hiring rates because in theory their stat page will get visited more often.
Horoscope: As an Aquarius I found this free sports horoscope for the year: Your professional life will evolve this year through changes which will imply you personally. One gives you new directives, or this is you who will understand into what you must change strategy. That will not go without hesitations and doubts, especially during spring. You despite everything are supported by a faith in you which will enable you to make efforts of adaptations.
Chinese Zodiac: Born in the year of the rat. People under this sign are usually smart and wealthy and will work for success. They are sanguine and very adaptable, being popular with others. They do not look authoritatively, incapable of assuming a leading position. They stick fast and refused to be influenced. They are easily guided only by their private interests. They have natural goodness but look unpolite. They are also obstinate and selfish.
Outlook for this year: This dragon year would run smoothly for them. After the misfortune in the past rabbit year, they will have a very good year in 2012, especially in career and finance. Rat is one of the luckiest animal signs this year.
Work best with goats (John Jenkins) and snakes (James Anderson) Not so good with dragons (Jeff Teague, Mike Scott), monkeys and horses (none on roster).
|Zaza Pachulia||Per Game||Per 36M||rank/478|
|Jump Shots||37%||0.400||Draws Fouls||17.5%|
Quick Analysis: The stats are what you expect for a bruising inside player. He knows who he is, which is evident in only 37% jumpshots and while he can drain the open midrange shot it would be best to limit those even further. What jumps out at me is the high turnover rate and low hands rating. Zaza would benefit greatly from the increased focus on penetration from the PG position. Whether it be from offense rebound put backs or getting passes in the finishing position it should help minimize the rough spots in Zaza's game making him more efficient. I think Zaza would also benefit from pick and roll plays with the PF with Zaza on the weak side crashing the boards. On defense he's not a shot blocker, but there isn't a player in the game who doubts that Zaza will make them think twice about entering the lane. The rankings are out of 478 players listed on basket-reference.com for last season with no qualifying minimums to provide some context for the numbers.
Hopefully, you feel you know a little more about Zaza Pachulia than before. Let me know what you think in your comments. What about that ESPN ranking? Personally, I'd take Zaza over those near him in the rankings in a heartbeat and how did he move down in a year he proved he could start on a playoff team? Last year Zaza stepped up because of injuries proving he could handle a bigger workload and that he deserves the respect of Larry Drew, does he get it or does he return to the inconsistent usage of before?