Golden State Warriors Season Expectations: Andrew Bogut


Because of his lack of presence during the NBA Finals, Andrew Bogut’s importance to the Warriors has been overlooked by fans and critics.

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It’s easy to dismiss his role on the team, given their success with small-ball lineups against Cleveland. Bogut only played a total of 73 minutes in the Finals and did not see the floor after Game 4. This was partly due to Bogut’s accumulated fatigue, but the Warriors needed to run against the Cavs’grinding, half-court offense.

Steve Kerr inserted Andre Iguodala into the starting lineup and slid Draymond Green to the center position to combat the sluggish pace. This strategy proved to be extremely effective and eventually won them the NBA Championship. Bogut’s absence during the final two games shouldn’t diminish his importance to the team at all, however.

Recency bias aside, Bogut’s impact was a crucial factor in the regular season and during the playoff series leading up to the Finals. He averaged 6.3 points, 8.1 rebounds, 2.7 assists and 1.7 blocks per game while playing a career-low 23.6 minutes per game. While these stats aren’t eye-popping, he averaged 12.3 rebounds, 4.1 assists, and 2.6 blocks per 36 minutes.

Bogut’s minutes were a testament to Steve Kerr’s mantra of effectively managing his starter’s minutes in order to keep everyone fresh for the post-season. When Bogut was on the floor, he opened everything up on offense using his unique passing ability and his physical screens. He has shown to have a keen eye for finding a teammate cutting backdoor or spotting up for a three.

Bogut utilizes tactics that frustrate opposing players, but he has a great understanding of how much he can get away with without being called for a foul. He habitually holds his man when boxing out and he enjoys roughing up anyone trying to get around his screen. His physicality and craftiness give this team its defensive identity. His imposing size and impeccable timing strike fear into opponents who decide to penetrate.

There’s also numerous quantifiable reasons to why he was selected to the 2014-2015 NBA All-Defensive Second Team. Bogut ranked third in Defensive Rating (95.2) and he held opponents to 41.4 percent at the rim. The Warriors were 58-9 in games Bogut played last season and were 9-6 in games he missed.

With the acquisition of Jason Thompson, and the promising potential of Festus Ezeli, it’s hard to imagine Bogut playing more minutes than he did last season. It’s unlikely he will lose his starting position any time soon, but Kerr will look to allocate more minutes to Festus Ezeli in hopes of developing him.

We’ll also probably see more of Jason Thompson, who was brought in for his rebounding and defense, and James Michael McAdoo, who displayed continual signs of growth throughout last season. Bogut will still maintain his role as the team’s enforcer, defensive anchor and one of the teams many facilitators, but there’s a good chance that he’ll play sparser minutes until playoffs roll near. If the Warriors want a shot at repeating, Andrew Bogut’s health and impact crucial for the upcoming season.

The Western Conference will be practically murder’s row this year, and with everyone gunning for the top, the Warriors will need to improve their chemistry and continue to get the best out of each player.

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