Andrew Bogut is the latest in a long line of legendary Golden State Warriors centers. But the team needs Bogut of old to return to defend their vulnerable interior.
Since joining the Warriors in a March 2012 trade, Bogut has been serviceable on the defensive end. Recording a career-low 24.5 minutes a contest, the big was relied on to body up low-post scorers and he effectively slowed them.
However, the results were a far cry from his nights with the Milwaukee Bucks when he was a perennial All-Star candidate. During the 2009-10 campaign, Bogut prevented 5.5 more points scored per 100 possessions on the court and averaged a career-high 2.8 blocks per 36 minutes. In 2010-11 the 7-foot center led the NBA in blocks despite a recurring elbow injury from the year before.
Catastrophic injuries like a shattered wrist and broken ankle chipped away at Bogut’s game and ultimately convinced Milwaukee to deal the 2005 first overall pick for change on the dollar. The pivot nursed his sore ankle most of last season and appears to be damaged goods, so it’s realistic to believe his best days are behind him, right?
Not so fast. According to Warriors general manager Bob Myers, Bogut is 100% healthy, which is a change from the last four offseasons. The big won’t be redshirted through team practices and he’ll be able to train without handicaps. He won’t even have a minutes-count!
And with his newfound health will come confidence to play aggressively again. Without pain, Bogut should be able to guard the rim without doubts of awkward landings on his mind. A mentally healthy center is a stout center, after all.
Bogut is a polished and underrated offensive weapon, but Golden State acquired him for his defense, which they’ll need more than ever to advance past the powerhouse clubs in the West. If his body holds up (and jinxes don’t exist), there is no reason to think the 28-year-old can’t regain his form.
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