Schmitt Ballin': Andrew Bogut’s Role Against the Spurs
After a disappointing game one, double overtime loss to the Spurs, it becomes more apparent how Andrew Bogut is the make or break part of the Warriors series. In order to beat the Spurs, he needs to be playing at his best, and doing a few keys things to stop the San Antonio offense.
First off, Boguts needs to dominate the boards. Without David Lee, he is the main rebounder for the Warriors, and he needs to keep the ball out of Spur hands. Both offensively and defensively, he will be battling against Tim Duncan for the majority of the game. Duncan is a great rebound, but not quite as big and strong as Bogut. Though Bogut is a bit shorter, he needs to use his strength as size to box Tim Duncan out in the paint. If he is able to pull down defensive rebounds and get the ball out to the guards, it opens the Warriors up to a fast break centered game. They simply cannot win playing San Antonio’s game, slowing it down to a half court setting. The W’s need to use their youth to get out on the break, and Bogut is where that all starts. Offensively, getting rebounds lets Bogut hit the shooters like Stephen Curry and Klay Thompon with a quick outlet pass for threes. If Bogut can set up the outside shooters for threes all night, the Warriors will be able to close the door on a Spur comeback like the one that happened in game one.
On top of rebounding, Bogut needs to be more of a defensive presence in the paint. Not saying that he hasn’t in the past, but he needs to step it up a bit against the Spurs. The San Antonio guards LOVE to penetrate into the basket. If Bogut can cut those lanes off and block a few more shots, it takes out a huge part of the Spur’s game. With Tim Duncan, Bogut needs to be smart with pump fakes and back door passes. Duncan loves to get the ball on the elbow, then dish it to a teammate cutting baseline. But there is a fine line between playing too tight and too loose. If Bogut plays too loose, he opens up the lane to a cutter that Duncan can hit with a pass as mentioned before. But if Bogut is a anticipating the pass too much, Duncan can kncok down 10-15 foot jumpers all night. That dynamic ability is what makes him one of the best centers in the league at 38 years old.
In short, Bogut needs to absolutely lock down the paint all game long. It is going to be hard to work against the Spurs’ big men all night, but it is what has to happen if the Warriors want to have a chance in this series. He simply needs to keep the Spurs off the glass, and let Steph handle the ball on the offensive end of the court. Bogut can help carry the W’s to the conference finals, and complete the “Cinderella Story” for Golden State this year.