People are excited about what the Golden State Warriors can potentially accomplish in the 2013-2014 NBA season and they should be. After upsetting the Denver Nuggets in the first round of the 2013 NBA Playoffs and then giving the San Antonio Spurs a fight in the second round, the Warriors definitely put themselves on the map and in people’s minds.
After the off-season the Warriors have had, there is even more talk of this team’s potential. Not only were they able to add one of the most dynamic wings in the game in Andre Iguodala, but they also saw a lot of improvement from another one of their wings, Kent Bazemore, at the Las Vegas Summer League.
There’s no denying that the Warriors are incredibly rich in talent heading into the 2013-2014 NBA season. However, having Iguodala, Klay Thompson, Stephen Curry, David Lee and Harrison Barnes doesn’t matter a whole lot if their big Australian center, Andrew Bogut, can’t stay on the floor.
Last season, Bogut played in just 32 games for Golden State. He averaged 5.8 points, 7.7 boards, 2.1 assists and 1.7 blocks in 24.6 minutes per game while shooting 45.1 percent from the floor. It’s also no coincidence that this Warriors team hit their stride late in the season when Bogut was on the floor.
For many reasons, Bogut may be the most important piece that keeps the Warriors running smoothly. Not only is Bogut a great post defender and rebounder, but his presence in the post also allows the Warriors to space the floor and have open shooters on the wings, which is right in their wheelhouse.
However, the biggest issue with Bogut is the fact that he has a troubling history with injuries. Over the last two seasons, Bogut has played in just 44 combined regular season games and that’s not the first time in his eight-year career that he’s missed a significant amount of time. Injuries are a legitimate cause for concern when it comes to the big Aussie.
Bogut’s health isn’t just important because of what he brings to the table, but also because of what the other centers on the Warriors’ roster are lacking. Festus Ezeli is still injured right now and, when healthy, is still a work-in-progress. They also added Jermaine O’Neal this summer. O’Neal had a solid year last year and will be a solid reserve, but since he’s nearing 80 years old, you don’t really want him having to play big, important minutes for your team.
Curry may be the star of this Golden State team, but it’s hard to deny the massive role that Bogut plays in their success. Things just work better for them on both ends of the floor when Bogut is at full strength. For the Warriors and their expectations’ sake, they better hope that Bogut can stay on the floor and stay healthy.