It's been a while since we've delved into the NBA here at the BASJ, but with opening night just a few days away, and the Warriors catching headlines yesterday with their signing of Andrew Bogut, I thought it would be a good time to shift gears into basketball mode a bit more.
If you haven't heard yet, the W's extended the oft-injured but multi-talented big man on Friday, that will keep him in a Warriors uni for this year and the 3 seasons to follow. We got a glimpse of what a healthy Bogut can bring to the table late last season and numerous times in the playoffs, and the Warriors are only hoping continued health will breed some consistency. Last year, the Warriors were limiting his minutes, rarely having the big man play beyond the 25 minute mark, but I expect to see them cut him loose a little bit more this year. They may take a cautious approach out of the gate just to make sure everything's a go, but after a few weeks, I would expect to see the Aussie playing 30-35 minutes per night, healthy permitting of course. With those kind of minutes, Bogut should easily provide double-double ability, with a healthy amount of assists and blocks to go with. He's still pretty young and with all the rest he's accumulated on the sidelines the last several years, should have plenty of good basketball left in him, but again, the bottom line with him will come down to health. If he's able to play in 75% or more of the Warriors games the next few seasons, this deal will be a good one. If he's playing 50% of the time over the next few seasons, this deal won't be looking so swell.
All in all, I do like the risk/reward aspect of it. You don't come along 7-footers with Bogut's skill-set very often, and like I said, he's still young enough to be a core piece and a guy you can build around. And with Bogut enters the best Warriors team, at least on paper, in quite some time. Not only are they rock solid throughout their starting-5, but with Harrison Barnes' move to the bench, it has given the team some talented depth. They did lose Jarrett Jack, a key contributer to last seasons surprise run, but Andre Iguodala should more than pick up the slack Jack left behind. I also liked the additions of Marreese Speights and Jermaine O'Neal to add some quality depth up front. It seemed like Mark Jackson was only able to use a 7, sometimes 8 man rotation confidently last season, this year, the Warriors look like they have at least 10 guys on that roster that should get significant time. There's the starting five (Curry, Thompson, Iggy, Lee, Bogut) then O'Neal, Speights, Draymond Green, Tony Douglas and Harrison Barnes. Obviously there won't be enough minutes to get all the reserves 15-20 per night, but the hot 3-4 out of that bunch will definitely get their looks.
Aside from the depth, further improvements from Harrison Barnes, Klay Thompson and Steph Curry, coupled with the hopeful steady health of Andrew Bogut and veteran savvy influence of Andre Iguodala is why I could see the Warriors getting as high as the #3 seed in the Western Conference this year. We'll have a Pacific division preview coming up later over at The Warriors Rundown, so check that out for further NBA preview talk.