How Andrew Bogut’s performance against Team USA makes the Warriors realize what they’ll be missing
Averaging 14.0 points, 5.7 rebounds, 4.7 assists, and 2.3 blocks in 24.5 minutes per game, Bogut is giving more to his team than expected after sitting out part of the NBA Finals with an injury.
There was a time when Bogut was the top draft pick for the Milwaukee Bucks. He was chosen as the franchise’s cornerstone player because he exhibited the ability to lead from his days in college, and displayed skills that made him a no-brainer pick in 2005.
After winning a championship with the Golden State Warriors in 2015 and losing in last season’s NBA Finals, the Warriors traded Bogut to the Dallas Mavericks, a team of his choice, to facilitate the signing of Kevin Durant.
Bogut is a tough player, screen setter, willing passer and a rim protector – all of which is valuable to any team. He has had many setbacks from minor to season-ending injuries, but he keeps coming back for more. Bogut did not have much time for recovery between his last injury and the start of the opening games in Rio, but he made it a point to get his body in order to represent his home country in the Olympics.
Having Durant will make the Warriors an even more dangerous team on any given night, but what will they miss from losing Bogut?
Bogut brings toughness, not only in the middle, but also in mentality. He is often very outspoken and is not afraid to tackle any controversy that arises. When it came to taking on Australia’s toughest opponent, Team USA, Bogut was the person publicly speaking for his team, telling them not to be starstruck, and instilling confidence that they could win.
The result was a close loss to the U.S. but the Boomers came out strong, and played as if they really believed they could win it before faltering at the very end.
At one point in the heat of the game, Team USA looked like they were beginning to make a run, but Bogut stepped in to issue a few hard fouls to let them know that his team wasn’t about to back down. There was no fight or scuffle that came of it, but the message was clear. Other teams would’ve usually folded, but hot the Boomers.
When Bogut’s Australian team lost the match, and his entire country still celebrated a hard fought game, he wasn’t satisfied with that or any moral victories, as he told Bobby Karalla of Mavs.com:
“We’re disappointed. We had every opportunity to try and push that game. We still lost the game, it doesn’t mean anything. There’s no small victories — it’s either winning or losing, and tonight we lost. We’ve got some stuff to work on and we’ll go and do that.”
Bogut feels the team can still win and will not allow anything other than a victory to calm his determination. Any team, including Golden State, can always use players that are willing to push past the odds to get to the ultimate goal of winning. That doesn’t mean their star players do not do that, but when you have others willing to step up and really believe in themselves in addition to the stars, it makes the team that much stronger.
With the attitude and mentality of a winner and a franchise player, although his body sometimes betrays him, Bogut is the type of player you would love to have on your team with a never lose, never give up mentality. He provides vocal leadership, isn’t afraid to go against the grain, and will give you his everything on the court. Bogut will never let his team back down no matter what the odds are. Even in losses he feels there is opportunity to win.
The Warriors will miss having Bogut on the roster and now have to draw from others to find that genuine mix of leadership, toughness and grit.