If you haven’t heard, the Golden State Warriors are for real this year. They’re currently seven game behind the Los Angeles Clippers in the Western Conference’s Pacific Division, but they’re also a comfortable seven and a half games ahead of the Los Angeles Lakers. There are several keys to the Warriors’ stellar season (ex. Mark Jackson proving he’s one heck of a coach and their young stars are playing like seasoned veterans), but none more important than depth, which has been displayed by Festus Ezeli‘s emergence in Andrew Bogut‘s absence.
The Warriors made a terrific trade to get rid of a problem while fixing another when they shipped Monta Ellis to the Milwaukee Bucks in exchange for Bogut. However, Bogut hasn’t been able to play much this season after his surgically-repaired ankle turned out to be more serious than originally thought. The Warriors haven’t missed a beat, though, as Ezeli has stepped right into Bogut’s role, averaging just under three points, just over four rebounds and just over one block per game.
Ezeli isn’t the only key factor during Bogut’s absence, either; many believed Golden State couldn’t survive as a title-contender without Bogut in the lineup, but they’ve done more than just keep the pace by playing small ball with twin power forwards David Lee and Carl Lundy while also getting unsuspected production from Ezeli. Once Bogut returns, this team could be scary good come playoff time.