(Bogut) Warriors Ready For Next Step?

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS – Faith and passion are things Golden State Warriors fans have always possessed in surplus. And they’ll be tested in both categories this season as they hold their collective breath when training camp begins and they finally see exactly what their team will look like in the flesh.

There is so much to like on paper, with offensive firepower in nearly every direction.

Steph Curry is reportedly healthy and healed, ready to get back on the court and resume his rise. Youngsters like Klay Thompson and rookie Harrison Barnes have extremely high ceilings. David Lee and his non-stop motor is always ready to go. And veteran role players like Jarrett Jack, Richard Jefferson, Carl Landry, Andris Biedrins and Brandon Rush will provide the quality depth coach Mark Jackson needs to deliver on the promise for the future the franchise is selling.

That leaves one glaring question mark for the Warriors, one that only Andrew Bogut‘s body can answer.

If he’s ready this season, whenever he returns to action from the ankle injury that has sidelined him for the past eight months, the Warriors could be ready to take the next step. If not, well … Warriors fans know the refrain better than most.

Bogut knows that this is a pivotal year in his career, too. A fresh start after an up and down seven-season stretch in Milwaukee. When healthy, he was among the best big men in the league and a true defensive anchor for a playoff-caliber team. But Bogut has played in all 82 games just once in his career, way back in his rookie season.

The potential for something big, however, remains. And as Tim Kawakami of the San Jose Mercury News points out, the Bay Area is hungry for a Warriors star to celebrate. We’re going to find out soon if Bogut is indeed that star:

Q: Do you have a sense about how this team is going to play?

-BOGUT: It’s hard right now. But obviously we’re going to be a scoring team. We have some flat-out scorers on our team–Steph and Klay and Harrison Barnes is a scorer, too. He can be very aggressive. David Lee and myself. The list goes on. Richard Jefferson as well.

I think our focus isn’t going to be offense so much in training camp. That’s what we’re focused on in these drills we’re doing in the preseason, there’s a lot of defensive focus.

That’s been a weakness here not just last season but for a number of years–the defense wasn’t a priority. So we’re trying to change that.

We know you’re not going to win many games and even if you do, you’re not going to win many playoff series scoring 110 points a game. That’s just not going to happen.

The math and the numbers and the stats say if you can grind down teams, keep them under 100, generally you’ve got a good chance to win.

-Q: How much of that is on you?

-BOGUT: A lot of it, yeah. Definitely a lot of it. I can be the vocal point in the paint, can see the whole floor and talk and communicate, block shots, take charges.

But the other thing we struggled with last year, when we did get stops, we didn’t get the rebound. I think we were the second-worst defensive rebounding team in the league. So it doesn’t make sense to work hard, get the stop and then Dwight Howard gets a tip-in. It kind of demoralizes the whole feel.

So that’s on me and David Lee to make sure we get those defensive rebounds.

-Q: You bring up Howard. What’d you think when Dwight and [Steve] Nash end up in LA?

-BOGUT: (Shakes his head.) The rich get richer. That’s generally how it is in the NBA. Grown accustomed to it the last five-six years. The rich get richer and the poor have to kind of scrounge and find other role players to fill it in. That’s kind of the way it is.

They’re obviously going to come out all guns a-blazin’. Obviously Dwight’s not going to be quite ready (at the start of the season), but just having Nash and Kobe together, and throwing Pau in there, that’s a pretty potent roster.

-Q: How have you done against Dwight in the past?

-BOGUT: Up and down. I’ve had some games where I got in foul trouble, like everybody. And I’ve had some games where I’ve guarded him pretty well.

The focus with Dwight is not to give him any cheap baskets and dunks, because he’s just so strong. Once he gets the ball within 3 feet of the rim, he’s putting you in the basket.

So I try to focus on making him use his touch a little bit more. And if he’s having a good game and making his hook shots, you’re in some trouble.

-Q: You feel a challenge when you see Dwight in your division?

-BOGUT: We’ve got work to do, yeah. I mean, the Lakers wherever they play there tends to be a lot of Laker fans. Same thing here. We know there’s going to be a lot of hype on that bandwagon. That’s going to be a tough team to beat, a state rival.

But we can’t run and hide from that. Hopefully we can steal a coupled games from them and see how we go. But obviously them and Miami are the two championship favorites.

Bogut is right about one thing: there is much work to be done by these Warriors. They have to restore the faith of their fans who have grown weary of the unfulfilled hype and validate their passion.

They’ll have their own history and a rugged Western Conference playoff field working against them.

But the pieces to change culture, perception and station in the standings of this franchise certainly seem to be in place. If Bogut’s body holds up … well, Warriors fans, you know the routine …

25 Comments

  1. J-Ridah says:

    This is still a stupid article. We will never lure enough stars because we don’t have enough night clubs here in da bay.

  2. NY fan says:

    The warriors will make the last playoff spot in the west!!
    If the warriors are healthy, they now have a better team than Memphis, Dallas, Utah, Denver, Clippers

    the teams that will be a tough challange for them in the playoffs are Lakers, Minesota, Spurs, OKC.

    The warriors will definatley make the playoffs if everyone is healthy and I cant wait to see them there!

  3. Owenhart says:

    Bogut should go to BOS or OKC to win a ring.. :-)

  4. Rick Rolled says:

    I am sorry Bogut, but you guys will not win, unless you have a veteran with deep playoffs experience and guys who want to stay in Oakland. Those are the pieces the Warriors need to be a threat in the tough west.

  5. the Truth says:

    Should have traded Curry instead of Monta. This years roster would have been absurdly good rather than putting question marks on two key players. Consecutively breaking your own ankles is a terrible sign.

  6. Jimbo says:

    Now back to the topic….

    Poor Warriors… they think Bogut will be healthy (consistently?). What a terrible trade.

  7. Mitch Richmond says:

    Andrew Bogut, try playin’ somewhere else bro’, you’re still young. Dont stay with GS for so long.

  8. Just a dutch says:

    Indeed Dont sleep on the Clippers…

    I think the Clippers will get a better record than the Lakers this year…really don´t understand the hype about this Laker team…Howard will not play 82 games…also Bryant will have a problem with reaching the 82 and also if he plays his minutes will be not more than 30 pg….and who are you going to put in then? Meeks? ….MWP is a lose end…never know what he will do..Clippers have Butler on SF now thats a guy I would always want to have on my team…back ups are Grant Hill and Barnes…Grant Hill on your bench…that means you only need him for 10-15 minutes a game…perfect…Back up for MWP could be Jamison but he is also needed to back up the PF and then you put in who?Ebanks…lol…on Laker PF you have Gasol and he WAS great but now he´s good and aged while the PF of the Clippers is the west allstar starting PF…Griffin is so young and already at this level…he can only grow and grow…ah wait and the starting PG of the west was also a Clipper…Nash 5 years ago could be that but now also just 30 minutes max pg and who is his back up…Blake….or you gonna put Duhon in?…CP3 will give you 40 minutes at least and is at his prime with backups in Billups and Bledsoe…..with Rose out, Paul is only battling Williams for best point guard in the league…if anyone is grazy enough to say that Westbroek is also in that battle they lost it…he is just a selfish showoff who made the best scorer in the league Durant the second option in the OKC offence…and thats why they did not have a chance in the finals…and will not have a chance next playoffs if Westbroek doesn´t change his view on who is the nr1 guy on that team….but back to LACvsLAL…So Howard is the one who is going to have to be the difference between these 2 LA teams..because he is way superior to DeAndre Jordan….well at least Deandre is healthy…can block just as hard…can dunk just as hard…can shoot freethrows just as bad…but he is only 23….getting better every year…and he is NOT INJURED….back up for Howard is Hill…come on…so that is the big guy who is gonna fill the minutes Howard is not playing and get you those winning record MWP is taking about?…or you gonna move Pau to center and Jamison on PF…ok…but who is replacing MWP, Pau and Jamison when these old men need a rest?…Ebanks…Murphy?..come on…Main bigs on the bench of Clippers are Martin and Odom even Hill can play PF….enough said…Now that leaves Bryant…as said back up is Jody Meeks…If Clippers decide to play with big shot then Crawford comes of the bench and if Crawford starts(what I think will happen and he is gonna shoot the lights out in LA with Paul serving him open shots) you have Billups or even Willie Green…In quality the Clippers are no less then the Lakers…but in age they are and this is a 82 season again…

    • One of the king's subjects says:

      Finally some one who knows what they’re talking about!!!

    • Deandre Jordan is alot worse freethrow shooter than Dwight

    • say what? says:

      are you serious? paul battling ONLY deron williams for best pg in the league? what about rajon rondo? russel westbrook could also be thrown in at that conversation now that he has a sweet midrange game. stop giving one sided comments brother.

      • bullsfan0218 says:

        i agree that rondo should be in the conversation, he has great vision and is probably the best rebounding pg in the league. Westbrook plays more like a 2 guard, even harden is a better distributor

  9. HeatKingsOfEast says:

    bogut looks fat

  10. Don't sleep on the Clippers says:

    Lakers have no bench, and Nash and Kobe are old. If the Clippers bring back Kenyon Martin they’ll have too much fire power.

    Bench: ( Odom, Jordan, Crawford, Grant Hill, Bledsoe

    Can’t jump on a Bandwagon in the West. OKC, San Antonio, Denver, and Memphis are still tough teams. If one of the Lakers aging stars gets injured it’s over.

    • klaycurry says:

      idk don’t forget jamison averaged 17.2/6.3 last season. he (along with dwight, kobe, pau, or nash) have all had experience carrying a five by themselves, so i’m not worried about that stupid laker depth. might take them a season to gel though–chemistry trumps talent (i.e. 2004 lakers, 2011 heat)–and by then it may be too late.

    • Jimbo says:

      Speaking of “getting old” Odom turns 33 in 2 months, Hill 40 yrs. in a month, Billups 36 yrs., Martin 35 years in a few months, and Butler, Crawford, and Barnes are all 32 (yeah I had to do a little research). So you argument of the Lakers getting too old is dumb, the Clips are in the same boat.

      Oh , and you forgot about the Jazz they are a tough team as with Minnesota. Both of which will be better this year.

    • Warriors we believe says:

      @Don’t sleep on the Clippers…what are you talking about the lakers have one of the best benches in the league now

      Bench: antawn jamison, steve blake, jordan hill, chris duhon, jodie meeks…..

      and your clippers are in trouble because blake griffen is currently injured

  11. He has never been the same after that elbow injury ! Would be nice to see him back to his old self soon. :(

  12. CaliFan says:

    Daaang Bogut straight up called it: “there’s going to be a lot of hype on that bandwagon”.