The Warriors have played great basketball to start off the season, going 19-10 in their first 29 games. They’re playing the best basketball they’ve played in years, and doing it without Andrew Bogut. What does this mean? It means they traded Monta Ellis away for a top 5 center in the league, who isn’t even playing: they gave up Ellis essentially for free, and it’s helped the team. Now that Stephen Curry doesn’t have to share the ball, he can really shine as a true PG, and let Klay Thompson bloom as a future NBA star.
Again, the Warriors are doing this ALL without Andrew Bogut, who played the first couple of games, but since then has declared himself out “indefinitely” to not get the hopes of fans up. Do the Warriors need him?
With Bogut on the court, the Warriors are 2-2. The center has averaged 6 points, 4 rebounds, and 1 block. These are pretty good numbers, considering he hasn’t played since mid-season last year. Klay Thompson, Jarrett Jack, and Carl Landry have more than provided for the lack of scoring that Ellis left.
What was the point of trading for Bogut? Many feared that the Ellis-Bogut trade wasn’t the smartest of moves. In fact, it angered many people and sparked the ‘booing’ of Joe Lacob when retiring Chris Mullins’ jersey. The point was that the Warriors could add some size to their roster. At 7’0″, 260 lbs, Bogut has fit the definition of a true center. Unfortunately, he has yet to show that.
Perhaps the early return of Bogut may have affected the ankle, but the Warriors are still not getting anything back from the trade. Some chose to look at this negatively, but is it such bad thing? One view is that the Warriors bettered themselves just by trading Ellis away: think about how deadly they’ll be when Bogut comes back! Another view, the less popular one, is that Bogut, although the fans would love to have him back, could end up disrupting the chemistry of the team. The Warriors have a nice flow at the start of this young season.
If Bogut comes back, he could instantly change the Warriors’ strong closing unit of Lee and Landry. Instead, it would be Lee and Bogut. Is that what the Warriors need? Because it seems as if it has worked out without them having that. In fact, Klay Thompson and Landry are both helping on the defensive glass, which has really increased the Warriors in rebounding. They are in the top 7 this year, as opposed to last year, when they were 28th.
Instead of being incredible shooters like most critics and analysts have hyped them to be, they finish most of their shots in the paint. This type of diversity is good for the Warriors. With the strength and offensive versatility of Landry, the Warriors feel free to play him at the PF/C spot. Although they enter the game undersized, Landry and Lee are able to rebound the ball and post up their defenders. They can both hit good jump-shots, while finding the open man when there is one.
In the two times that the Warriors have played the Lakers, Dwight Howard fouled out one game, and has had an average of 8.5 points and 7 rebounds, both considerably below his average. The Warriors, going into these games, were extremely worried that Howard would dominate them on the inside. Because of Landry and Lee’s hard work, he wasn’t able to do so. Festus Ezeli, the interim starter, has also been able to defense some centers in the early going. His fresh legs and hard work reward him with rebounds and even some offensive putbacks.
I’m not saying Bogut shouldn’t be a starter when he comes back, but this is a lot to think about. If he disrupts the chemistry, he won’t be benched, but Landry will likely see less time on the court alongside David Lee. Although Bogut may be one of the best centers in the league, I feel as if he is on the decline. Landry does an excellent job on other teams’ centers. The Warriors shouldn’t really be missing Andrew Bogut.
There’s a chance that Bogut can return to his old ways and be one of the best centers in the game today, but it is unlikely. This season, the Warriors’ goal is to make it to the playoffs, whatever seed they are. Since Andrew Bogut has been in the post-season before, I would have no complaints about him starting, but I hope he doesn’t hinder the Warriors from making it there.