Analyzing Andrew Bogut’s impact on the Golden State Warriors is an intriguing exercise in contradiction. Trading Monta Ellis and Ekpe Udoh to the Milwaukee Bucks for Bogut and Stephen Jackson (who was then swapped for Richard Jefferson and the pick that became Festus Ezeli) seemed to mark a turning point for the franchise from its dysfunction under Chris Cohen to a future filled with promise brought by Joe Lacob and Peter Gruber. However, much of the success the Warriors have enjoyed since this move has come with Bogut either on the bench or being strongly limited in his play.
When the Warriors traded for Bogut, he was supposed to be the first solid center for the Warriors since the year Erik Dampier, Marc Jackson and Adonal Foyle went crazy or Chris Webber depending on how you define solid. Both of these were one year answers so the Warriors have been searching for a quality center since before they could do the research for a center on the internet.
So what does Bogut mean to the Warriors? He is the difference between being a fringe playoff team and a contender as a top team in the Western Conference. In the NBA, this is a gaping chasm.
Bogut brings the Warriors a skillset that few players can provide; he is a perfect complement adding what this team needs. He has elite interior defense both on the ball and helping weakside. He plays defense with excellent fundamentals, perhaps the best player in the league at contesting a shot without leaving his feet. With the defensive deficiencies of Lee and Curry, this is vital to succeed against top teams. He is a strong rebounder both offensively and defensively. He is a crafty passer out of both the high post and the low post. At his best, Bogut is a double double machine and one of the top shot blockers in the league.
What we have seen from Bogut to date is glimpses of what could be. A couple of those glimpses came in the playoffs against the Denver Nuggets including a 14 point, 21 rebound performance in the clinching Game 6. Against San Antonio, Bogut ran out of steam and the Warriors sorely missed his production. If he can be his best self for long stretches of next year the Warriors will be in the short conversation to win the Western Conference. Time will tell how big an “IF” that is.