OAKLAND – First, he tried to play reporter, another professional athlete obviously jealous of the money and attention around media members. Andrew Bogut took the digital recorder, established position a few behind Stephen Curry in the scrum at Warriors media day and got all “60 Minutes.”
“Can you confirm if the Under Armour deal was really $10 million a year?” Bogut said, going after his teammate’s new sponsorship.
Curry laughed. “You’re in the ballpark.”
“You heard it here first,” Bogut said in wrapping up the ruthless interrogation.
Then, he tried to create an international incident.
“I’ve lost six or seven kilos,” the Australian said. “I’ll leave that up to you guys to convert to pounds because I’m a firm believer that America should catch up to the rest of the world and go to the metric system.”
This was a man in a very good mood. Bogut reported Friday for the official opening of the Golden State season at what he called 110 percent health, delighting in the chance to play on two legs for the first time in his Warriors career, contrasting this feeling with the frustrations of 2012-13 and boosted by recent unofficial workouts and pickup games with teammates. He also showed up 15 to 18 pounds lighter,
“He’s healthy,” said Harrison Barnes, the second-year forward. “I’ve never really seen him like this before. He’s getting up and down the floor great. He’s dominant. He’s able to do his post moves, getting guys involved. For me, it’s been good to see him a 100 percent.”
It’s more than that, actually. Take the image of Bogut as a difference maker in the playoffs, especially on defense and especially in the first round against the Nuggets, and factor in the medical reports. Take the glimpse from April and May and imagine it without the left ankle and back problems that caused him to miss 50 games last season.
The Warriors may have just acquired Andre Igoudala and Andrew Bogut in the summer.
“I am looking better because I have two legs that are functioning the same way,” Bogut said. “I wasn’t in the best shape coming into training camp last season because I couldn’t run, I couldn’t condition, I couldn’t pound my ankle in the offseason. I’ve had an offseason where I could actually focus on the first month getting the swelling out from the playoffs, getting all the pains and aches out. I had a specific program which was tailored toward pushing my ankle to the limit each week, and then if it got better I’d go to the next stage and the next stage and the next stage. And by the time I got to August, I had no setbacks. I’ve been in full contact training since August. I have no restrictions and I feel great.
“I came back from an injury (last season) that probably should theoretically kept me out for 12 to 18 months. I came back in less than six months and tried to suck it up and play. For whatever its worth, I got berated by a lot of people for the way I played. I’m willing to accept that. I played through some things that I probably could have rested a little more, but that’s part of the NBA, part of pro sports. I took that on the chin, worked hard in the offseason to try to get a strong and in the best shape as I can, and I think I’ve done a pretty good job of that.”
There are few statements that could have gotten the Golden State season off to a better start. The assessment is particularly meaningful because Bogut was critical of himself and hid nothing when he discussed his physical state a season ago. Day 1 or not, before even stepping on the court for the first team workouts, there is a credibility to the update.
And there is the accompanying update: David Lee, the power forward alongside Bogut at center, reaffirmed a previous statement that he is at 100 percent after surgery to repair a torn muscle in his right hip, suffered in Game 1 of the playoffs. Lee said doctors discovered during the operation that the injury was worse than originally feared, but that the recovery has gone well. He is playing five-on-five and without restrictions.