For Andrew Bogut, it's all about getting to the Tokyo 2020 Olympics
Andrew Bogut might be approaching the twilight of his basketball career, but it's not likely ending anytime soon - not if the Sydney King centre has anything to say about it.
"As far as if I play another year or two, or I don’t play, I haven’t honestly decided that until it all happens."
While speaking at the Kings’ season launch on Tuesday at their new practice facility in Auburn Basketball Centre, NSW --where the team unveiled their new TVC and marketing campaign and had a live performance from award winning hip-hop artist L-FRESH-- Bogut's made it clear his focus is on the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.
“The goal for me was always to get to Tokyo, which was a part of why I signed in the NBL. Be around my family, more first and foremost, and get to that Olympics."
Bogut's decision to returning to Australia was inspired by a need for stability with his family, and a need to manage his load. “[The NBL schedule] played a huge part in [my decision],” Bogut confirmed in an earlier interview with The Pick and Roll's Kane Pitman. “With my injury history, I thought playing less games for my body will give me some more years down the track and obviously help keep me healthy for the World Cup and the Olympics.
"When I weighed up all the pros and cons of staying here, there were definitely far more pros and that was one of them.”
The big man's decision to play for the Kings resulted in a return to the Golden State Warriors last NBA playoffs, and a run with the Australian Boomers in the recent FIBA World Cup in China, where Australia placed fourth.
The lighter NBL schedule also saw a healthier Bogut compete in 28 out of a total 30 games last season with the Kings, a good number by any measure. It's even more so for the 34 year old Bogut, who has suffered from injuries throughout his NBA career, that began with his elbow injury in Milwaukee.
Bogut wasn’t just suiting up in those games either - he was dominating them. He led the league in rebounds with 11.7 and blocks at 2.75, while being just outside of the top 10 in field goal percentage and assists, 0.56% and 3.5 respectively. His impact was epitomised in his Defensive Player of the Year and league MVP honours, validating his efforts in catapulting the Kings from the seventh seed the year before, to the third seed in 2019.
Bogut tweaked his ankle recently in preseason, which turned out to be residual fallout from the earlier World Cup tournament, but confirmed his game status for the Kings' season opener.
“I’ll be good to go. [The injury is] just something I carried throughout the [World Cup],” He shared. “Obviously did it two days before the first game of the [World Cup], which wasn’t ideal and then tweaked it again the other night. Just had a little bit of bad luck.
“But, I anticipate getting through the whole game unscathed.”
The NBL season awaits, and beyond that, Bogut sees no reason to rule another NBA return out.
“If the opportunity arises again to go to the NBA, I’ll definitely listen,” Bogut explained. “I’d never say no, but it’d have to be the right situation. It’s not a matter of going back at all costs, or just going back to go back. It’ll be going back, if I can go on a team that’s contending for a title, if I can help them with seven or eight minutes a game — similar to Golden State — I’d definitely consider it. ”
Competing in the intensity of the NBA playoffs right after the NBL season, means Bogut will be in game shape as the Boomers head into the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
Playing all year round in a sustainable manner puts Bogut in good stead to be ready for the Tokyo Olympics in 2020, a target him and his team obviously circled when he first decided to move to the Kings. Having said that, Bogut confirmed an NBA return wasn't a must-have on his agenda, and that the situation mattered.
For now, it's about the NBL 2019/20 season ahead, and the lead up to the Olympics with the Boomers for one more run at that elusive medal dream.
Bogut confirmed decisions on his future would come post-Olympics. “Beyond that, that’ll be a conversation; I’ll probably take a week or two off after Tokyo and sit with the family and decide what we want to do.
“We haven’t been settled in one place for more than a year over the last six or seven years of my career, so that definitely takes its toll when you’ve got young kids. So that will play into the decision.”