There is some good from Andrew Bogut’s first half of the season, and some bad as well.
The good: Bogut has looked like one of the cornerstones of the franchise that the Golden State Warriors hoped and prayed upon the injury Gods that he would be. He has been a defensive force, clogging up the lane and showing flashes of an improved offensive repertoire. Not surprisingly, the Warriors are a better defensive team with Bogut on the floor, but their jump in offensive production with him on the floor is shocking.
The Warriors shoot drastically higher totals from less than five feet and between five and nine feet with him on the floor, but also shoot a better percentage from the 20-24 foot range and 25-29 foot range. In recent weeks, Bogut has shown stretches of brilliance on the offensive end of the floor, particularly when he recorded his 16 points, 17 rebounds and five assists in the Warriors win against the Utah Jazz on Jan. 31.
The bad is that the seven footer from Australia is more fragile than Chinese porcelain, and is now dealing with a bruised left shoulder injury that kept him out of the Warriors last four games before the All-Star break.
Bogut has played in 48 of the Warriors 53 games to this point in the season, which is a feat in and of itself. Last season, Bogut played a mere 32 games with the Warriors struggling with injuries the entire season. Bogut has not played 82 games since his rookie season with the Milwaukee Bucks back in 2005 and has played less than 40 games three times out of his eight seasons in the NBA.
Right now, the Warriors should not be too concerned, but if Bogut continues to miss time with a “bruised left shoulder” injury, then the Warriors should be concerned. Eighty-five year-old center Jermaine O’Neal has missed time in his first season in the Bay Area due to injury. Ognjen Kuzmic looks raw and not ready to play big minutes at the center position. Center Festus Ezeli has not returned from his knee surgery, and will need some time to adjust upon his return to the floor. Marreese Speights has not given the Warriors consistent productive at the power forward position and would not be a good option at the five spot for a long period of time.
Simply put, the Warriors need Bogut badly. He is their second most important player and without him, the eight-seeded Warriors could slip out the playoff picture and back into the NBA lottery.