Sports Out West

Warriors wise to play Andrew Bogut ‘like he is 100 percent healthy’

Photo Credit: Kelley L Cox/USA TODAY Sports

While the arrival of newcomer Andre Iguodala might be the biggest move of the offseason, the Golden State Warriors’ most valuable player for the 2013-14 season will likely be a player who was already on the roster but has yet to fully pan out due to a couple of injury-plagued seasons.

For the first time since joining the Warriors, Andrew Bogut has had a relatively-healthy summer. Missing 104 games over the past two years, he has never been viewed as a player who could play an entire season for a team. Even when healthy, his minutes have consistently been limited during the season with the hope of keeping him healthy longer.

After a successful offseason, the Warriors are thinking otherwise with their plans for using Bogut.

“I think the initial though is he is healthy, and play him as much as you want,” general manager Bob Myers told Sporting News.

As seen during the stretches of time he did play significant minutes, Bogut has been quite the difference maker for Golden State when he’s on the court. Averaging 7.2 points and 10.9 rebounds a game during the postseason, the Warriors put all hands on deck during their playoff series against the Denver Nuggets and San Antonio Spurs, playing Bogut past his limit in hopes of advancing during their magical run.

If the Warriors want to make a big statement this season, they’ll need to get as much as they can from the Australian. Healed and feeling great this offseason, the Warriors also have some viable backups if the team were to overwork Bogut and make him miss time during the season.

Veteran Jermaine O’Neal is a solid defensive presence who could shoulder a heavier workload after bouncing back in his single season with the Phoenix Suns. Festus Ezeli is currently sidelined with a knee injury but should serve as a viable option in the second half of the season. Although better as a power forward, Marresse Speights, another newcomer, has the size to play at center.

While these players have their own injury concerns or question marks, now is the year where the Warriors need to get the most out of Bogut and play him as the healthy center he should be during the 2013-14 season.

Photo Credit: Kelley L Cox/USA TODAY Sports

Follow and interact with Austin Chang on Twitter @_austinchang.
Andrew Bogut

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Austin Chang

Austin Chang is the Associate Editor of Sports Out West and a San Francisco Bay Area-based sports journalist. His work can also be found on Yahoo! Sports and RamsTalk. Follow him on Twitter @_austinchang.