In a league gravitating towards more and more teams playing undersized power forwards and spreading the floor thereby relying on three point shooting, the Golden State Warriors have an advantage over most teams in the middle of the floor. They have a big, bruising Australian center: one Andrew Bogut.
Bogut has been one of the Warriors key pieces this season and if the Warriors want to have any postseason success, they need Bogut to continue exceling in multiple facets of the game.
Saturday night, in the Warriors win against the shorthanded Los Angeles Lakers, Bogut was a terror on both ends of the floor. He finished with 12 points and 20 rebounds on 6-of-12 shooting from the field coupled with two blocks. In wins, Bogut has been stellar. His plus minus is plus 8.5. In losses Bogut’s plus/minus is minus 3.4.
What does that mean? It means that when the Warriors win, Bogut is one of the main reasons why. When he plays well and gives them offense and rebounding on-top of his defense, they are one of the toughest teams in the league to defend. When he struggles, they struggle as well.
One of the advantages the Warriors have with Bogut at the center position is their ability to play smallball with Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Harrison Barnes and Andre Iguodala around the perimeter. With this group on the floor, the Warriors are both lethal from outside, but also are able to defend with Bogut manning the post on defense and not demanding the ball on offense. This is one of the main reasons why David Lee is expendable.
Bogut is third amongst centers in opposing shooting percentage around the rim just behind Brook Lopez and Roy Hibbert. Bogut’s ability to dominate the glass is also an advantage to the Warriors. He is fifth among players that grab at least 9 rebounds per game in percentage of rebounds recovered out of possible chances. A rebound chance is when a player is within 3.5 feet of a miss.
Offensively Bogut has been very good as well. Compare his shot charts from last season to this season:
Last season, Bogut shot only the league average from in the paint, and was mediocre from both blocks as well as the free throw line area. This season Bogut has improved his shooting percentage in the paint as well as on both blocks. Bogut is shooting nearly 70 percent when he shoots off of pick-and-rolls. He is also shooting 76 percent when he gets the ball off of a cut. Bogut cannot consistently create his own shot on offense, but thanks to his playmaking guards, he is able to still contribute offensively.
The Warriors often times begin games by feeding Bogut in the post, thereby easing their shooters into games. If the Warriors want to be able to contend against teams with bruising center’s such as Houston with Dwight Howard, Indiana with Roy Hibbert, Memphis with Marc Gasol, and Chicago with Joakim Noah, then they will need to continue involving Andrew Bogut and utilizing what he brings.