Highway robbery. That’s the crime that the Golden State Warriors committed against the Milwaukee Bucks in March of this year.
Trading an undersized shooting guard for a top-five NBA center was an absolute no-brainer, and I still wonder what Milwaukee was thinking when they agreed to the deal. Didn’t they realize that playing two shoot-first guards together wasn’t going to work? They saw the results Golden State had with Monta Ellis and Stephen Curry, yet they somehow determined it could work with Ellis and Brandon Jennings.
Anyway, enough of that. What I’m trying to say is, the Warriors absolutely stole Andrew Bogut from the Bucks, and it is up to Bogut to make his former team pay.
The first step is to have Bogut stay healthy and play 75-82 games of the season. You have to believe that the Bucks were tired of Bogut’s nagging and recurring injuries, and they jumped at the opportunity to trade him.
We have to trust that Bogut stays injury-free throughout the year, because without him, the new-look Warriors will be just like the Warriors of old.
Don’t believe me? Take a look at their depth chart and see for yourself:
PG – Stephen Curry, Jarrett Jack, Charles Jenkins
SG- Klay Thompson, Brandon Rush, Kent Bazemore
SF – Harrison Barnes, Richard Jefferson, Draymond Green
PF – David Lee, Carl Landry
C – Andrew Bogut, Festus Ezeli, Jeremy Tyler, Andris Biedrins
Ask yourself the question, “If the starter goes down, is there a backup good enough to carry the load?”
For the most part, the answer is yes. Jack, Rush, Jefferson and Landry are all experienced, veteran players who have been starters at one point or another in their careers.
But how about the center? What if Bogut blows out a knee or dislocates an elbow? Your options are the rookie Festus Ezeli, the unproven Jeremy Tyler and last and certainly least, the woeful Andris Biedrins.
To whom would the Warriors turn? Ezeli is a terrific defensive presence, but needs dramatic improvement on his offensive game. Of the small sample size that we saw of Tyler last season, he is still extremely raw and would be overmatched if thrust into that starting role. And then there’s Andris Biedrins, whose life and career are falling apart right in front of our eyes (when’s the last time you saw a man making $9 million be charged with tax evasion?). In other words, Biedrins is not going to be your starter.
In the event of a catastrophic Bogut injury, the Warriors would likely have to start new acquisition Carl Landry at power forward, and slide Lee over to center. That is a recipe for disaster, because as good a rebounder as David Lee is, he’d get swallowed up by bigger opponents and the Warriors would be faced with the same “rebounding and defending” shortcomings that plagued them last year. At that point, you might as well as kiss their playoff chances goodbye, and boo Joe Lacob even louder the next time he comes out.
There are other questions, which are pivotal as well. Assuming that Bogut stays healthy and is their starting center, will he produce at the high level that the Warriors need him to? Will numerous injuries have slowed him down?
When healthy, Bogut has averaged a double-double in points and rebounds, and is no doubt a top-five NBA center.
But keep in mind that he has spent his entire career in Milwaukee, so many people are unaware of what this guy can do. Over in Oakland, Bogut will be counted onto be the missing piece that gets this team to the postseason, and that’s a pretty big burden to put on him. The Warriors haven’t had a productive and consistent center since Robert Parrish in the 1970s (they traded him to the Celtics for a pile of garbage), so you can bet that people will be hyped up about Andrew Bogut.
Of course, there’s a chance that none of this happens. If Bogut stays healthy and plays like he has throughout his career, then the Golden State Warriors might actually have a pretty good starting center. And that sounds too good to be true.