Golden State Warriors coach Steve Kerr criticized Dillon Brooks for a “dirty” play, but consultant Zaza Pachulia maintains that Brooks isn’t a dirty player.
Although Warriors coach Steve Kerr was quick to call out Memphis Grizzlies shooter Dillon Brooks for a “dirty” play against Gary Payton II, calling Brooks a “dirty player” seems like a stretch to Warriors consultant Zaza Pachulia.
Pachulia, a longtime NBA center who played for the Warriors from 2016-2018, maintained that Brooks is a hard player, not necessarily a dirty one.
“When you play hard for 48 minutes and every possession, especially in playoffs, sometimes it’s getting out of control,” Pachulia said prior to Game 4. “I don’t think it’s fair to call someone dirty when you play hard. That’s what Brooks is in my opinion. Even in regular season games, he plays hard.”
Warriors consultant Zaza Pachulia on Dillon Brooks play style
Though Pachulia and Kerr are both former players in the league, with Kerr playing in an even more aggressive
“I don’t know if it was intentional, but it was dirty,” Kerr said. He then went on to describe a “code” in the game of basketball in which it’s uncool to “whack” a player “across the head in mid-air.”
“He broke the code — Dillon Brooks broke the code.”
NBC Sports Bay Area noted that two days after his initial comments, Kerr spoke on the issue again, implying that Brooks risked Payton II’s career with his foul.
To his credit, Brooks has said publicly that he regrets the play.
Whether or not Brooks intended to hurt Payton II, the result was devastating for the 29-year-old point guard who has played his way through the G League and into the spotlight this season.
Per NBC Sports Bay Area’s Ali Thanawalla:
“Payton fell hard and was diagnosed with a fractured elbow and ligament damage. The Warriors haven’t ruled him out for the remainder of the playoffs, should they advance into late May or June, but the 29-year-old guard will miss at least a few weeks.”
Brooks, who was suspended from Game 3, resumed play in Game 4 as Golden State leads in the series.