Zaza Pachulia played with Steph Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green, but now he's just a big Warriors fan, a special member of Dub Nation with a couple of NBA championship rings.
After being deprived of seeing the Warriors' core superstars playing together during the 2019-20 NBA season, Pachulia can't wait to see Curry, Thompson and Green get back on the court whenever the 2020-21 NBA season begins.
"I don't know if they are going to get better, to be honest," Pachulia told NBC Sports Bay Area's Grant Liffmann on the latest episode of the "Runnin' Plays" podcast. "But I believe they are going to compete at the highest level. I kind of forgot how great it has been the last couple years because of the type of year we had last year.
"And then injuries, obviously. We have not seen Klay at all on the court. Unfortunately, we had to watch other teams playing in [the] playoffs and [the NBA] Finals."
The Warriors' five-year run of NBA Finals appearances was a dream scenario. The memories they created during that stretch are unmatched. But fans had to suffer through a 15-50 season in 2019-20 as Thompson and Curry recovered from major injuries and the team developed a lot of young players.
Pachulia, however, is looking forward to next season for several reasons.
"I guarantee you, once we see those three guys on the court, we're going to get those memories and feelings back," Pachulia said. "And we haven't mentioned we got Andrew Wiggins. And [Kevon] Looney looks amazing, he's healthy, he looks great. We have young guys who got a great opportunity last year. I think they grew. Second year, we're expecting them to be better."
After a "gap year," the Warriors expect to return to NBA title contention next season. General manager Bob Myers has the resources to improve the roster this offseason, and the team should be on a mission to prove they can win a championship.
"I'm excited for next year," Pachulia said. "Everybody should feel that way, just to see those guys back on the court healthy, ready to go. Those memories are going to come back, those feelings are going to come back. I'm positive and I'm very excited for them next year."