Andrew Bogut: Myth or Miracle?

I’ve now been to two Warriors games this season, and in both games Andrew Bogut has played.

What are the odds?           

Yes, Andrew Bogut is back, and it’s time to share with you my long-promised deconstruction of the last and biggest myth on my list of current Warriors myths: The Andrew Bogut Myth.

Even if I don’t really feel like it.

The “He’s Back Now” Myth:  He’s done his rehab. His ankle feels good. He’s ready to go. Andrew Bogut is back!


I’m not so sure. I’m sorry, but I have an uncomfortable suspicion that Bogut is back in the same way that Andris Biedrins has been back at the start of each of the last three seasons. Biedrins is always spry and energetic at the start of the season, after a nice long layoff, and the Joe Lacob PR machine is always ready with a story about Biedrins being re-energized and Happy, and ready to re-dedicate himself to getting back to where he was before Don Nelson Destroyed his Confidence. And yes, Big Things Are Expected From Him This Year.

And the Bay Area media are only too happy to jump on board with these deceptions, and everyone does a wonderful job pretending that Biedrins didn’t contract chronic osteitis pubis in 2009, and that his next crippling bout of inflammation and pain (or “groin strain”, as Lacob’s minions call it) isn’t right around the corner.

That kind of “back.”

Like Biedrins, Andrew Bogut has a chronic and painfully crippling condition. I warned you of the probability of this last summer, but it became a confirmed fact when Joe Lacob’s lie about Bogut’s microfracture surgery was recently exposed. Bogut’s condition is known as osteoarthritis (damaged cartilage in the joint, attended by chronic inflammation), and he has it in both the ankle he had surgery on last April, and the right elbow he had surgery on a couple of years ago.

Folks, osteoarthritis doesn’t go away. It never “heals”. There is no cure. Bogut’s symptoms may subside with treatment and rest, leaving him relatively free from pain and inflammation for a time, but it will never go away. Certainly not while he’s a professional basketball player. 270 pounds of grown man running and jumping on a hardwood floor is not the best treatment imaginable for damaged and fraying ankle cartilage.

That’s what 50 years of NBA history, and the recent examples of Greg Oden, Andrew Bynum and Yao Ming have taught us. Big men who develop damaged cartilage and osteoarthritis in their joints never fully get healthy again. Never fully, and never for long.

This harsh truth is no doubt what Charles Barkley had in mind when he said this about Bogut on Bay Area radio recently:

I loved him as a player, but I don’t think he can ever play again. I don’t think he can ever be close to the player he used to be. He doesn’t just have injuries. He has major injuries.… His injuries were so major that he’s never going to be able to get back to where he was. I hate that, because he seems like a great kid. But I don’t ever think he can get back to that All-Star level where he was in Milwaukee.

Andrew Bogut is back, yes. But he’s back on an ankle that swells and aches. During last night’s game against the Suns, Jim Barnett stated that he wouldn’t be surprised if Mark Jackson held Bogut out of the fourth quarter. He had a “sneaking suspicion.” He elaborated after the game, stating that he thought he saw Bogut limping slightly on the ankle in the first half. The Warriors coaching staff agrees: it was reported after the game that they see Bogut “favoring” the ankle.

I’ll add my own observations. Bogut is running up and down the court like a ballerina, on the balls of his feet. Avoiding the pounding of landing on his heels. Check it out. And in the Toronto game, I clearly saw him wince and limp after coming down from a block attempt.

So yes, Bogut is favoring that ankle. And unfortunately, it’s likely he always will. He’s got an ankle that swells and aches, that will always swell and ache. On some days it’s going to swell and ache more than others. And the more he plays on it, the more it will swell and ache. This was true of his osteoarthritic right elbow in 2010-11, and it’s even more likely to prove true of his ankle.

That’s why Charles Barkley and I fear that it is highly unlikely that Bogut will ever be able to keep himself on the basketball court for any sustained period of time, let alone play at something close to his former level. 

The “80% of Bogut” Myth: If you’re a Warriors fan, you’ve heard this one a lot this season: “Even 80% of Bogut will help the Warriors.”

I think that’s another myth, one that has been repeatedly proven false by NBA history. Let me ask you this, was 80% of Shaquille O’Neal a winning basketball player? You know, that guy who played for Phoenix and Cleveland?

What about 80% of Bill Walton, when his foot was killing him on the Blazers and Clippers?

How about 80% of Ralph Sampson, when he was on the Warriors?

And what about 80% of Dwight Howard, the guy currently on the Lakers? Is he a winning basketball player?

Perhaps everyone is thinking about 80% of Arvydas Sabonis, who was a pretty good player. One could argue that the current version of Bogut resembles Sabonis quite a bit.

Or 80% of Tim Duncan, who’s also not bad. 

But there’s a major difference between 80% of Sabonis and Duncan, and 80% of Bogut. Those guys simply got old. Andrew Bogut got osteoarthritis. Andrew Bogut got chronic inflammation and swelling.

80% of Andrew Bogut is 1% away from a return to the inactive list.

The Andrew Bogut Miracle: Am I skeptical of Bogut’s health, and the assumption that he can have a positive impact on the Warriors this season? You bet. That doesn’t mean it can’t happen.

Nor does it mean that I don’t want to see it happen. Quite the contrary, I would absolutely love to see it happen.

The healthy Andrew Bogut was not only a great basketball player, but my favorite kind of great basketball player. The kind of great player I enjoy watching most.

Genius-level basketball IQ. Multi-dimensional. Not all that athletic, but not reliant on athleticism. Unselfish. Great court vision. Great passer. Always one step ahead. Hard-nosed. Competitive. Committed to winning.

Come to think of it, there are quite a few other players like that already on this Warriors team. And wouldn’t it be great to see a fully functional Bogut on the court with Stephen Curry, David Lee and Klay Thompson?

Probably the highest IQ basketball team since the Walt Frazier, Earl Monroe, Bill Bradley, Dave Debusschere, Willis Reed Knicks.

Possibly the best passing team in NBA history.

What couldn’t that team accomplish? Who wouldn’t want to watch that?

Maybe it can happen.

Mark Jackson recently stated that “This is a team I believe God has his hands all over.” (Ever wonder what would happen if every time Jackson opened his mouth to say “God”, the word “Allah” popped out? Would the Warriors media silently acquiesce in Jackson’s characterization of his team as Allah’s Warriors? Would Joe Lacob? But I digress.)

If God’s close personal friend Mark Jackson is right about God being a Warriors fan, and God really does have his hands all over Andrew Bogut (because He loves all his Warriors players equally), and Bogut keeps giving his ankle daily ice baths and keeps gobbling handfuls of anti-inflammatory pills (in case God missed something), then who knows?

Maybe sometime later this season, deep in the playoffs, I’ll be writing about the last and biggest miracle of this Warriors season.

The Andrew Bogut Miracle.

58 Responses to Andrew Bogut: Myth or Miracle?

  1. Thanks, Feltbot. I suppose the only question left is whether this could have been anticipated at the time of the trade (or why it wasn’t), but you may want to duck that one. So I’ll sit back and hope for a miracle.

  2. Myths and miracles are both better left to religions they belong to – pagan and religions of the book.

    Sabonis got injured in his young years (“The following spring, he suffered a devastating Achilles’ tendon injury.”) at the age of 21. That left him much much slower (whomever watched the young Arvydas knew he was going to be the best center ever with his off the charts athleticism and skills (including great passing and best three point shot the center has ever had) that he acquired playing point-guard while a teen.
    Nevertheless Sabonis remained dominant and had long career compensating for his loss of athleticism by overall smarts.
    Now, as a good lithuanian, I am not saying that Bogut is anywhere to close to Sabonis, but he can sure pass and defend, even at 80 percent that he is playing now.
    Also he allows the team for Lee to be played in high post and use his passing to innitiate much of the offense when Curry rests. For you can run double-big passing game with Lee and Bogut together both of whose defenders must be alert on giving/asking for help. That spreads the floor, and naturally our half-court sets may become deadly with our shooters and slashing of Barnes, who, I believe not accidently, had his strongest games with 80 percent Bogut on the floor.
    In other words, 80 Bogut is plus on offense so far and you can rely on him for crucial stretches of defense when teams want to score inside late in the game.

    Also, what I think i have seen with him, is that he tries to be extremely active while on the floor, knowing that he will play limited minutes – this is interesting tidbit: could it be that extra activity won’t hurt him much more, so he can give his all for 25 minutes he will be getting? If this is the case, 80 percent of very active and quite skilled player i.e. working his ass off for 25 minutes, is better than someone going through the moves/or less skilled playing 38.

    If Bogut, even at 80 percent, can play 25 minutes through the rest of the season (I think he can swallow some pain, don’t you, after being through his injuries, and he loks hungry for basketball, not like biedrins, who might not really care and already plan his future life) he is an assset.

    Now we can not only match Grizllies (and be not affraid of demarcuses cousinses or big babies) on defense, but we can be the best passing team in the whole league, and that – passing – is a sure way of spreading the floor, even if you lack in departments of quickness/speed. Or lack a ‘traditional’ (assuming it has become mandatory in the NBA) spread four, for Lee at high post and Bogut down low is very much a lethal weapon with Lee’s ability to outdribble his man, or to pass to whole bunch of cutters/shooters or simply play a two man game with Bogut.
    We had 60+ paint points yesterday, and not because of low post scoring, but because of great ball movement.

    • Nice – I’d still like to get us a spread four though!

    • Great point about Bogut’s 25 minutes. Using a traditional center for that much time might actually be a nice formula in the NBA these days. As Feltbot has aptly pointed out many times, spreading the court with the small lineup of Landry and Lee at 4 and 5 has been a nice finishing line-up. Why mess with what’s working? Let Bogut have bursts throughout the game and then go to the closing lineup for 8 minutes in the 4th. This is what depth is about.

  3. “Genius-level basketball IQ. Multi-dimensional. Not all that athletic, but not reliant on athleticism. Unselfish. Great court vision. Great passer. Always one step ahead. Hard-nosed. Competitive. Committed to winning.”

    Great to see you’re finally coming around on Bogut. Late, but better later and accurate, than early and inaccurate… When you start complementing Lacob, West, Myers, and Jackson for a job well done, the Death Star will be complete.

    There’s no denying Bogut is a nice player RIGHT NOW! Anyone who is of a differing opinion – needs to watch more games and see how he impacts a game. He blocks 3 shots a game – that they give him credit for. He changes shots. He makes players think twice about taking it to the rim. He even knocked Dragic to the ground – arguably the Suns best player – and who retaliated by kicking Bogut in the ankle and should have been ejected from the game! This will never show up in a box score.

    Barkley? He’s so funny! An NBA analyst/doctor? Not so much.

    Injuries happen in the NBA especially with big men. It’s a risk. I’ll take 25 minutes of a damaged Bogut. He’s a great fit with Lee. They complement each other well. With him, there is the potential to go deep in the playoffs as no one wants to face We Believe II.

    • I’ve always been around on Bogut. I’m just not around on the idea that he still exists.

      • Hehe! That’s fair enough! Time will tell – 25 minutes is plenty to impact the W’s defense and help on offense. If he stays on the floor.

        Teams are scared to play the W’s in round one. Without the healthy Bogut option? Forget it. Not so much.

  4. Felt,

    The Niners sucking *ss and the light outage at the Super Dome has me looking for distractions. Thankfully, I ran across your analysis on Bogut. I thought it was pretty even handed and the idea that Bogut can be limited or lost for an extended period is very true. However, I think the talk about whether 80% of Bogut is helping the Warriors is missing an obvious point. Bogut, in an admittedly small sample-size since his return, is clearly helping. He is slightly better than Ezeli & Biedrins defensively and significantly better than both offensively. That is 25 minutes of improvement that you wouldn’t otherwise get.

    I think the polarizing question is would you still trade Ellis for 25 minutes of 80% Bogut. You can put me firmly in the affirmative side. There was a lot to like about Ellis but in a variation of your phrase “systems matter” I would postulate that “people in those systems matter” and Monta’s high-risk, do whatever I want on offense or defense would be a bad fit. I would further add that “teams need a pecking order.” Stephen Curry had to be number 1 and Monta Ellis was never going to let that happen here.

    Here’s hoping for a minor miracle: The Bogut we are seeing for 25-30 minutes a game except on back-to-backs for the rest of the year. Remember, no back-to-backs in the playoffs.

    • Don’t disagree with your analysis of Ellis situation, but there were many other options for an Ellis trade. Could Harden have been one?

      • That is an interesting question which bears a harder look but my recollection is that the Thunder were turning down all Harden trade offers until October because they wanted to give Harden all the time possible to accept their extension. That timing wouldn’t have been great for the Warriors makeover. Then you have Kevin Martin, Perry Jones, Jeremy Lamb, and two number ones (one of them Toronto’s sure-to-be-high pick.) Given what the Thunder were looking for, I just don’t see the Warriors having a competitive offer.

        Maybe there was something else possible but I’m in the camp of a risk for an injured, transformational center was the right call.

  5. Thanks felty for your honesty … I saw Curry dribble while waiting for Bogut to walk back… Very slow… However I do agree with Martin… I do think we should use Bogut as we need him..I do miss Steve.. Since I don’t live in the Bay Area I always depend on him to post the high lights..
    As we say in Arabic (inshallah- if God is willing) let Bogut play… If Ray Lewis thinks God was on his side to win the superbowl why can’t Mark Jackson

  6. My view of the trade, not that anybody asked …

    Ellis was overrated by many. Udoh was seen as one dimensional.

    So, in a way, they traded Ellis for … well, what did they know about Bogut’s injury at the time?

    In retrospect, it looks like Ellis for a 40% chance (the success rate of some microfracture surgeries) at a healthy Bogut. At the time, who knows?

    It seems to me that losing Ellis didn’t hurt a bit. Bogut might help.
    I’m not so sure that the elbow is that big an issue. After the elbow injury his FT percentage dropped significantly. But, it seems to be back up to where it was. That’s an argument that the cleanup surgery worked.

    But, as far as the ankle goes, Feltbot is probably one of the few calling it right.

    The fact that he isn’t playing back to backs tells you that there’s something wrong with it. That something has to involve management of inflammation. Nothing else makes sense.

    So, what were they thinking? My reading of wikipedia reveals, if it’s true, that 40% are successful, but that’s mostly based on knees. Supposedly, it takes a year of careful rehab. Unclear why they brought him back sooner. Maybe because the microfracture part of the surgery was on a small area? Is he doing any rehab specific to microfracture now? Can they tell at present whether it has failed or may still suceed. I don’t know.

    Which brings me to my next point. The reason I don’t know is because the W’s aren’t talking. They didn’t reveal it at first. When Bogut spilled the beans they put a gag order on all injured players and refused even to provide an expected date of return. They’re still being cagey.

  7. With all this talk about percentages, I thought I’d throw this out there:

    If Bogut cannot heal up, he’ll face a serious risk of further injury as long as he continues playing. In that case, I’d put the odds of him retiring within 2 years near 100%.

    And I for one would (regretfully) back that decision 100%. He does help the team, but having him wince and mince around the court for our entertainment is just wrong. I feel the same way about Biedrins.

    • It’s a fair moral point, but here we are dealing with capitalist enterprise.
      Profit and morality don’t go hand in hand.
      No one (in front office, any front office, for that matter) is going to address this issue on the grounds of ethics – as long as there is value to the asset that value will be milked and protected. That’s why all injuries are underreported and (attempts at truth) come from outside journalism and not the enterprise itself.

      • hunka hunka burnin' bush hat

        “Profit and morality don’t go hand in hand.”

        The few truly successful people I’ve met don’t try to screw people or even to manipulate them into screwing themselves. It’s not a morality issue. A justifiably angry employee (or vendor, or customer) almost always has legal recourse, and a bad reputation limits one’s future business opportunities. 99 times out of a 100, it really is more profitable to simply play fair and square.

        Here’s a weird scenario that could play out with the Warriors: if gambling is a legally recognized business activity and the team intentionally misrepresents vital information that affects the odds, why couldn’t bookies or bettors win lawsuits for the damages they sustain as a direct result of the Warriors providing misleading information?

        Here’s another scenario: what if the Ws didn’t have a winning record right now? There’s a very good chance that they’d be facing a class action lawsuit, right now, from preseason ticket buyers justifiably upset over the team’s misrepresentations about Bogut’s prognosis.

        Don’t want to get all lectury here, just wanted to inject a reality check. Bogut is most likely to NOT play for the Warriors for very long. And we’re most likely to hear something along those lines officially from the front office before too long. All it will take is one slight mis-step in the heat of a game…

        • “Play fair and square” – like in – we will cut your wages down while going through reccession, but acquire more family assets down the line.
          I have met successful people, if by successful you mean running a good business, I worked for them – some were alright, some were assholes. None of them were moral to be successful, quite the contrary – if shit was going good for them, they could let themselves spare some pennys down the line on occasional outbursts of goodness. Morality here is a supplement, not a cause.

          Gambling is an interesting case – on one hand I don’t see how you could prove whether something was done intentionally the paper work missing – you can always cloud it with trillion of clauses. You don’t see big heads falling often, do you?
          On the other hand, technically the team always misrepresents vital information – you can’t be sure whether someone will play and how long that someone will play, or whetehr they will opt to rest players and so on.
          There would/could be endless lawsuits, but I don’t know who would win in precedentless case. It’d be a mess, for sure.

          Anyway, I’m not a law expert, not even an amateur, I’ll leave it here.

  8. A smorgasbord of interesting NBA analysis from David Aldridge, including an interview of Andrew Bogut near the end. I found the bits about his elbow quite interesting, if not disturbing.

    • From the Aldridge interview:

      Me: How is the range of motion in that elbow?
      AB: Pretty close. It’s pretty close [to the left], but it’s about 10 degrees, 15 degrees [less]. I struggle shooting the ball sometimes. Sometimes I’ll shoot a jumper and it’ll just miss by two or three feet, and I’ll wonder why. Every now and then it just gives out. That’s just how it is.


  9. Bill Walton had bad feet—high arches and other problems with the way his boats were constructed (from Halberstam, Breaks). He wasn’t built well enough to last in the game. Ming wasn’t built to last, either, and made it through only seven seasons. Now Noah and Nene (and Gasol?) have plantar fasciitis. Only a handful of big men have been built well enough to carry their size and weight (how many other than Shaq?).

    With all the sophisticated statistical analysis going on in sports, more study should be made here. I wouldn’t be surprised to find that the odds of any player of a certain size and weight lasting past seven years (Bogut’s tenure, and which may be a critical cutoff point—I’m guessing), are not great, and that the odds of injury increase significantly with each year played. The analysis could even get more sophisticated by studying body types and athleticism. Howard is built very well—but now his back and shoulder. Bogut isn’t built like Howard.

    Thus there may be odds that Bogut would have sustained some other kind injury than his “freak” accidents about this time. We won’t know because he hasn’t played much the last two years. But the active, and at times reckless, way he plays invites such injuries. When a big guy falls or crashes, he’s going to cause a lot more damage.

    There had to have been risks in the trade, not factored in.

    • Tim Duncan is the obvious candidate for a big who has lasted well. But he has always played within himself (and has played forward not center most of his career?). Also Pop has taken care of him.

      It would be interesting to make a study of the longevity of the careers of 7 footers. The problem is, most of them aren’t very good and leave early anyway.

    • As this discussion continues, it seems more and more clear that the Warriors front office was more interested in moving Ellis (freeing Curry) than what they got in return. When they got Bogut they turned on the spin cycle to proclaim him the missing big man. It seems like they were willing to take the risk because Bogut is a high character guy and well spoken. I think it’s becoming fairly clear that this ownership group wants guys who are well-rounded on and off the court, as opposed to simply skillful players. Harrison Barnes may fit this mold perfectly. This increases the brand of the team, and as a bi-product helps with winning. Duncan’s Spurs have been a model franchise in this regard.

      • bush league hat

        I think the team badly wanted to – or was required to – move Monta because of his sexual harassment case last year. It’s the only thing that would make the expensive and risky Bogut trade the best deal possible. It might even have been the ONLY deal available at the time.

        Re making the Ws Curry’s team, I’ve heard that rationale a lot from fans and the press, but it doesn’t add up. No one has ever suggested Ellis was uncoachable, and he routinely defers to Brandon Jennings on the Bucks now, so why wouldn’t he have done that for Curry if that’s what the Warriors coaches wanted? Ellis looks like a team player to the Bucks.

        • I’m skeptical. I haven’t seen zip about the affair. But who knows?

          But I also didn’t hear any trades for Ellis for anyone other than a center, except Chris Paul. They wanted a center no matter what.

          As far as finding players who fit the mold of good guys who get along, they trade for SJax? They couldn’t have known they could trade him for his contract.

          • SJax didn’t even buy a plane ticket to Oakland! LOL! I’m pretty sure that the W’s front office would never let SJax see the W’s hardcourt. For better or worse, it’s high character, team players ONLY in Golden State. Book it…

            Agreed – Monta was their only piece that could bring them a solid big man to pair with David Lee. As it was, they had to throw in a high lottery pick big (Udoh), an $8 million expiring (Kwame) contract, and take on Cancer Jack…

            To get rid of Cancer Jack (in only 1 or 2 days), they had to take on the 2nd year of Richard Jefferson’s $10+ million contract and received a late #1 (Ezeli).

            All this allowed the team to tank – so they could have a chance at their #1 pick (Barnes).

            So Monta, Udoh, $8 million cap space,…

            For Bogut, Jefferson, Ezeli, and (huge lottery luck) Barnes…

            I think it’s obvious the trades have worked out well for both teams…

        • hat du jour—

          I don’t know if anyone saw it, but after the Bucks game, Curry and Ellis did the now customary embrace, which was not forced at all on either side but sincere, and Curry said something to Ellis which returned a look of deep appreciation. Curry, after all, is the guy who became top man for the Warriors and replaced him.

          I think Ellis is much misunderstood. He’s a hard guy to read and much of what he has said and done makes him look self-centered. Some of his comments are grating, for example his comparison of himself to Wade recently. But in a league where promotion means getting ahead, a player has to do something, and Ellis just isn’t very good at this.

          I suspect he’s just slow and stubborn, which is good and bad. He resisted the change to point that Nelson encouraged, but he tried and got better. He just didn’t pick it up quickly.

          He also may prove to be one of the most durable players in the NBA. How many sprains and spills and spasms has he had one game only to come back the next and play a full game? He also recovered from his ankle break fully, apparently.

          • No one outside the Ws knows the real reason for rushing Ellis out of town. My guess is based on the belief that Lacob & co. aren’t dumber than we are. They could see the risks and problems with the trade even better than us. That being so, why make a “dumb” trade? Because they really, really had to, for reasons you and I don’t know. It might not have been the sexual harassment thing, but the fact that we never heard any more about that case just means the team reached a confidential settlement with the complainant, not that it wasn’t an extremely serious problem. Criminal sexual harassment. Penis pix. Alleged retaliatory termination by the Warriors. Bad stuff.

            Ellis is bad in front of a microphone, no question, but I’ve never heard his teammates or coaches complain about him. Not surprised to hear Curry and he are still friends.

          • Put differently, I’m pretty sure the team wouldn’t have traded a good center who showed his johnson.

          • I wouldn’t bet on it. An alleged sex crime finished Birdman Anderson in Denver.

          • Combined with the “tank” last season, all these reasons add to the argument to trade Ellis, rather than keep him.

            Feltbot — can you weigh in on Ellis’ hoops IQ? What was your evaluation of his mental ability on the basketball court. Off the court, we all saw the interviews, that much is pretty clear.

    • Update on Gasol:

      “Gasol has been bothered by tendinitis in both knees and fasciitis for at least two months, hindering his progress since shortly after new coach Mike D’Antoni took over.”

      And now he has a torn plantar fascia.–nba.html

  10. While I disagree with you that Bogut was a “great player,” I agree that he presently is not given his injury.

    While he is a huge improvement over both Biedrins and Ezeli, he presently lacks the ability to challenge players entering the paint and to many easy baskets are now being scored inside. Yes, he has a few blocks, but overall he makes very few defensive plays.

    It appears that the Warriors play better offense and defense when they go small and Bogut is not on the floor. But, I need to see a greater body of work before reaching any definitive conclusion.

    By no means is he a “game changer” or “transiormational player” as some posters have suggested. A block at the end of a game does not warrant a player being regarded a game changer given that he previously shot 3-9 from, had only one offensive rebound, and the Warriors were killed on the offensive glass during his stint on the court.

    I need to see if he can reduce the opponents field goal percentage when he is on the court. Such is the main test of his value on defense.

    And is offensive shooting skills are just average, and is hook shot is erratic. But, he did garner 5 offensive rebounds in the last game which hopefully he can repeat.

    I hope Barnes discernible improvement in the last game continues. coming on.Glad he not settling for threes and has been effective taking it to the hoop. The Warriors won’t lose many games if he hit more than 50% of his shots.

    I’m disappointed in Jackson not experimenting with his line-ups, and not putting Bazemore in the rotation. He appears to have the ability to take points off the opponent’s board, with his stellar defense, steals, and blocks. He does have the ability to be a real game changer.

    The upcoming road trip will be a real test for the Warriors. They need to show intensity out of the gate.

    • Not only did the FO gamble on Bogut’s health. They also gambled the success of the team on a single player. Did ANYONE think this team could do well without Bogut?

      And what we found out is that can do quite well. We’ve been staring at the proof all season. A couple of affordable players could have made the team more resilient, flexible, and competitive.

      • “Did ANYONE think this team could do well without Bogut?”

        In a word, no. Before acquiring Landry and Jack, a Bogut-less Warriors team looked like a worse outfit than last year’s. Even with them, it initially looked like a team that would have “big” problems. Credit the coaches for implementing far better strategies for the personnel they have. Makes you wonder if the team could have done far better last year, if only the coaching staff had had their act together.

        • ‘could have done far better’ presumably, you refer to the part of the season before the trade and the subsequent grand loser’s strategy ? the coaching staff didn’t have any summer or preseason to adequately evaluate the personnel, let alone install the significant changes we’re seeing on both ends of the floor this year. with ellis running the offense, it’s doubtful how much they could change even with a normal season. defensively, they didn’t have the kind of personnel (udoh excepted) that Mil has now to compensate for the porous perimeter defense that comes with ellis.

          • Speaking of porous perimeter D, I’m sure there was a very good reason Thompson got only 20 minutes last night. Are you suggesting Ellis would have done worse? As far as I can tell, on D, Ellis > Curry > Thompson. But I’m willing to learn otherwise if you have evidence.

            Re “could have done better last year,” yeah, I mean during the part of the season where they were presumably trying to win.

            We all know why the coaching staff couldn’t/didn’t have their act together last year. The lockout had to cause more problems for a new coach and personnel than an established team, and it takes time to build a coaching staff, instill team play, change a culture, etc. The Ws didn’t even complete the coaching staff until this year’s preseason. Organizational development takes time.

            On the other hand, MJackson didn’t even show up in Oakland until September, his first training camp was 1 week of pure chaos, and, as noted here and elsewhere, the coaches didn’t have the team playing to its strengths during the Kwame Brown era. If they had somehow found a way to coach better last year, I think they could have had a better record. During that time when Jackson was still guaranteeing the playoffs.

  11. Steve, I went back and looked at the press reports. There was a press release prior to the surgery which included a time estimate. Then, after the surgery, Bogut said that he expected to be on the court in 4 months, although he didn’t say whether he expected to be a full strength. I didn’t find a press release from shortly after the surgery.

    As far as Feltbot’s osteoarthritis argument, I don’t see the supporting evidence for that specific diagnosis. But, the way they are using Bogut strongly suggests that they are concerned about inflammation. The question is then whether he has a degenerative condition or not.

    Feltbot thinks that the elbow has OA also, but the symptom picture seems wrong for that diagnosis (I’m not a doctor, but I do have arthritis, so I know a little about it). Bogut describes limited range of motion and occasional weakness — not inflammation and pain in the elbow.

    Back to the ankle. Obviously, he had a setback, since the surgeon thought he would be better by last September. Nobody has said why.
    I doubt that the surgeon scratched his head, shrugged, and then specified a treatment plan – no back to back, 25 minutes only. Much more likely the surgeon has a pretty good idea about what is going on. Seems to me that it’s more likely the prognosis is bad — why would they conceal a positive prognosis?

    So, I take it one game at a time with Bogut. If he’s fully healthy, the Ellis trade was a steal. But, my guess is that somebody knew something was wrong that might not be treatable, which is why he was available at that price.

  12. Smorgasbonnet

    OT: In our house the award for Best Superbowl Ad goes to Frito-Lay.

    Goat 4 sale.

    • The Lackers/D’Antoni story isn’t going to end well. Howard is going to be subpar through the end of the season, if not for good. D’Antoni disrespects Gasol, but he’s got 2 years remaining at $19m – not a good trade prospect. Kobe plays with the best PG/one of the all-time best shooters ever in Steve Nash, but he still hogs the ball. And the bench really is subpar. Meanwhile, they’re trying to assimilate a radically different coaching philosophy which may or may not actually fit the team’s talents. And every nuance is examined with a microscope and published worldwide. Whew.

      I know some here worry sometimes about the Ws prospects, but they look like a pretty together bunch next to the Lackers. Maybe our guys will even be able to beat them again someday.

  13. Seems to me Feltbot said something about the defense giving up the 3 . . . .

    Bummer. I really wanted to see them beat Chicago, Milwaukee, and Houston to prove they were more than middle of the pack.

    • Also Curry didn’t call glass on that half court shot, so they had to take it back.

    • Yup, have to give credit where it is due. Felt talked about defensive three-point luck not too long ago; it all seemed to come crashing down for at least one game. That’s what you call good analysis.

      I fear that the lack of perimeter penetration-preventers will make this a recurring weakness although a healthy Bogut and players that learn to utilize his talents correctly might mitigate the damage. (Hello boys, the term isn’t just “Help”, it is “Help and Recover”.)

    • Carmen Miranda's Offstage Headgear

      On the plus side:

      – Bazemore and Green got some real competition time, which can only aid their development.

      – A reality check is always a learning experience. Especially if it’s a bummer.

      – There are ways to counter a 3-pt assault, and this year’s coaching staff seems more adaptable than last year’s. In fact, the 2nd half last night went better after they made some adjustments. Now that Houston has demonstrated how to clobber the Ws, other teams will attempt the same. After last night, the coaching staff should be able to respond more quickly.

      OK, I’m reaching here. Last night was a bummer. Still, I’d rather this happened now instead of Round 1 of the playoffs.

    • I think my real disappointment is that they couldn’t win a shooting match, as they did of yore. I hated seeing them get beat at their own game.

      Having a reliable shooter at 3 (not Barnes), or a spread 4, or more shooters off the bench other than Jack would have opened up the court and kept them in the game. The team just isn’t that deep offensively.

    • It was kind of like watching the Super Bowl, except, after getting down big in the first half, the Warriors didn’t come back in the second and the lights didn’t go off.

      OK, it wasn’t like the Super Bowl.

      • I haven’t looked at the game flow, but why didn’t Landry get extended minutes over Bogut? The Warriors were crushed with Bogut in the game last night.

        • bogut in his present condition is exactly the kind of player you’d avoid exposing for heavy minutes against a team like Hou in their arena. they favor a very fast pace, open court offense, and are very young. not long ago Hou’s center played old and slow, and teams that liked open court offense knew exactly what to run. bogut wasn’t the only one on his team that played old and slow ; after all, that was the preacher’s favored offense when he played.

          • Houston didn’t do much at the rim with Bogut in the game. All spread the floor, drive and kick out for threes. Bogut could match up with Asik – or try to run Asik off the floor Nellie style with a faster player.

            Defense – looked horrible – Houston always got decent looks at the 3 point line on great ball movement. Normally a packed in the lane zone will work with a team shooting 35% from three on the season… W’s never adjusted to make stops.

      • Does this make me look fat?

        I don’t think scoring was the problem. The dubs shot 47.7% for the game, and 109 pts wins most games. The D was MIA.

      • Scoring can be defense. If you push a team with scoring, they try to keep up and might tighten up. It’s easier to shoot 3’s when you have a lead, which is what happened with Houston. They broke out with a quick lead late 2nd half, didn’t get pushed, so kept shooting with abandon. They were loose the rest of the way.

        And a note on the last seconds. If you tell Green to foul, he’s going to foul, and don’t expect anything half-assed.

        • I’m sorry, offense is not defense.

          In the last 2 games the Ws looked like the dubs of old on D. Maybe the league has figured them out?

          • Disagree. Offense was precisely the problem, both nights. The only way to beat OKC is to push the score. And not having someone to pick up the slack if a player is off or out with injury especially hurts.

            I don’t envy other team’s size, but their athleticism and versatility. I take Ibaka over Bogut any day (and he hit a 3!).

            More experience wouldn’t hurt, either.

  14. The season is starting to get interesting…Gasol out for 6 weeks, and Chris Paul’s knees possibly shot. The Clippers are probably a .500 team without CP3 and the Lackers are in serious trouble. With the Grizz blowing up their starting line-up we’re going to find out pretty quickly if the Warriors can move up to the 5th or even 4th seed.

  15. Blast from the past (here, last July)—

    Zach Lowe made this comment about Denver (link from Steve, and thanks again, but it no longer works):

    “The Nuggets, in other words, are collecting a different kind of asset: capable players on movable contracts. In a league of byzantine salary-matching rules for trades, Denver is never going to have trouble finding contracts that fit in any variety of deal. With those assets, a relatively lean sheet and a future first-round pick still to come from New York, Ujiri knows he can butt his way into almost any trade conversation he likes.”

    To which I comment:

    Defining centers are few and unobtainable. The future of the NBA for teams like the Warriors is in the FC, PF spots, sizable, talented two-way players who can compensate for size differences with speed and skill and scoring. But such players necessarily mean playing a system that will make best use of their talents—running, spreading the offense—to offset whatever they give up in height. And you have to have enough capable players on the floor and on the bench to allow a team to adjust to injury—or to the running, spread offenses we’re seeing from the top teams like Denver and OKC.

    And look at Denver now.

  16. Even though the Warriors have lost the last two games by decisive margins, an assessment regarding why the Warriors have done so well this year, as compared to last year still needs to be evaluated.

    Most posters state that the Warriors had a bad team last year. When the Warriors made the trade they were only three games under .500. The reason they had a losing record is because Jackson started Biedrins who had a terrible year. Secondly, he only played Udoh 20 minutes per game, when, in fact, the Warriors were outscoring their opponents by far with him on the court. So, the Warriors were actually better than their record indicated.

    Nevertheless, most posters agree that no one could have forecast that the Warriors winning this year given that the Warriors only adding Landry, Jack, Jefferson, and three new rookies, but losing Ellis, Udoh, McQuire, and Wright.

    But in retrospect the adding of Landry and his increased offensive performance this year, as compared to past years, and the fact that his defense statistically matched McQuire’s, indicated that the Warriors have added a real force.

    Plus, Jack gave the Warriors a terrific third guard, who is has performed well on both sides of the ball. And Thompson’s development made Ellis expendable. As did Barnes replacing D.Wright. The surprise this year has been the reemergence of Biedrins and Ezeli filling in at the center position.

    The Warriors have managed till lately holding teams to shooting close to 42% from the floor using primarily a small line-up.

    Neither they nor Bogut are as good on defense as Udoh, but they have not hurt the Warriors. Except for the last two games, the Warriors have also done much better as the result of the new defensive system this year.

    The loss of Udoh was a big loss for the Warriors. On defense the Warriors held opponents to shooting less than 42% from the field last year. Bogut has never approached that when playing for the Bucks.

    While statistically those who claim he is a one dimensional player are right as he only shot 43% for the field for the Warriors, when one looks closer they are just plain wrong, He actually was a terrific offensive player as he took few shots which virtually nullified his low shooting percentage which allowed only shooters to score hitting threes. But, that’s not all. As picks ware deadly, allowing Ellis to score at will and others to hit jump shots. This is born out by the fact that the Warriors outscored their opponents by 8 points over a 48 minute period with Udoh on the floor. His offense in setting picks is part of the reason the Warriors outscored their opponents. Udoh is one of those freak players where stats don’t tell the whole story. Unfortunately for him, he is not being used as well with the Bucks and is not receiving much playing time with the Bucks.

    Udoh provided the Warriors with a defensive inside presense that Bogut does not provide.

    Bogut was ranked 37th overall in the NBA in his limited play last year, which is quite good, but Udoh ranked 2nd in the NBA in performance, just behind L.James, and Udoh’s defensive statistical performance was about 33% better than Bogut. See Bucks blog.

    And while Bogut is a better shooter, he probably helps the Warriors just a tad over Udoh offensively, but not defensively. And his defense so overshadows Bogut’s offense, that there no comparison.

    The Warriors are getting killed inside with Bogut, He guards bigs well but when teams penetrate perimeter players into the paint, he provides negligible help, or at least, nowhere near what Udoh brought to the table.

    So, in the final analysis the trade was a disaster for the Warriors.

    Posters writing that the Warriors got the best of the deal are just wrong. Intentionally losing games helped the Warriors to at least draft Barnes.

    • Udoh still disappoints offensively, most with his outside shot, and I suspect this won’t change. But otherwise he is precisely the kind of athletic player the team needs (see @17).

      Defensively, I take him over Bogut, especially against teams like Denver, Memphis (he was +17 in their 1 point loss a few years ago), and especially OKC. He is stronger and faster, and, as we saw, intimidates in so many ways that don’t appear in the stats.

      He’s not a klutz inside, and with this team could have developed into a useful scorer. Hard to believe he couldn’t get better with assists

      Bogut, btw, is 57% on free throws (he looks bad on the line) career, Udoh 74% and 80% the last two years.

      And his salary is utterly manageable, even if he doesn’t develop as much as one might want. Then add to the team all the money that would have been saved had the trade not been made and consider who else might have been added. Run whatever scenario you want with Ellis. At the very least, they save about $8m. But if the team had this philosophy years ago, they save much more. Brown $7m, $27m if they amnestied Biedrins.

      Udoh is also young, and if he did pan out, would have been around for several more years. After next season, hard to have much confidence in Bogut’s health and the Warriors will be short handed once again.