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Aussies in NBA: Bogut in Dallas is 💯
Something insignificant happened in the NBA recently. Something about some guy named Kevin Durant joining some no-name team called the Golden State Warriors or something. If you were keeping close tabs on Twitter you might have picked up a story or two on that.
Seriously though, this was a massive move that led to a whole bunch of dominoes falling every which way. The full effect on the league will only truly be felt when the 2016-17 season begins, but KD35's decision has already left an immediate impact on several teams, with the Dubs' bench breaking and scattering to make way for another max salary.
As part of this mass exodus, my team, the Dallas Mavericks, now have two of the Warriors' starters of the past couple years. Harrison Barnes arrives on a max contract that he hopefully grows into, while Andrew Bogut comes to the Big D with his game and mindset fully grown and ready to go.
As both a Mavs fan and someone who spent the last year closely following the big man, I am beyond ecstatic.
There are just so many reasons to love this acquisition. Firstly, Bogut's no-nonsense, team-first attitude is exactly the kind of temperament that would benefit any team, whether a young rebuilding one or a veteran title-chasing one.
The Mavericks are kind of in a weird, in-between place on that spectrum, but in that case we get the best of both worlds; someone who can both be a good role model for the youngsters like Justin Anderson and newly-drafted big man A.J. Hammons, as well as a veteran who has the respect of fellow old-timers like Dirk Nowitzki and Deron Williams because he brings it every night on the court and plays first and foremost to get the W.
Secondly, the best center the Mavs have ever had was Tyson Chandler. After him, it's a sharp drop off. Brendan Haywood and Zaza Pachulia vie for no. 2, and with all due respect to those guys (especially Mayor Zaza!), that's a pretty depressing reality. Bogut, provided he remains healthy, would automatically make the no. 2 spot his own (while possibly also making it to no. 1 in my heart).
Ever since TC first stepped into our lives, Mavs fans have known the perfect frontcourt partner for Dirk Nowitzki is an athletic rim-runner who can patrol the paint at the other end of the court. While Bogey is no spring chicken at age 32 and with multiple (freak) injuries, we've seen time and again evidence of his ability to finish off alley-oops and send back all who dare trespass in his paint.
It's not just skill; there's lots of smarts in his game too. In my opinion, one of his plays of the last year was against the Trail Blazers in the playoffs.
Besides the obvious highlight-worthy nature of his complete and utter shutdown of Mason Plumlee's attempt at a dunk, his follow-up defense on Al-Farouq Aminu is nothing short of basketball IQ excellence. Notice how he's there to challenge, but reads Aminu's movement perfectly to stop himself going up too early and potentially giving away the foul and free throws. Notice how he goes up at the perfect time to force the miss. Très magnifique.
That same BBIQ is also what fuels the one part of Bogues' game that Tyson Chandler could only dream of having: his beautiful and effective passing.
Bogey played a big part in the Warriors' flowing offense, and while the parts (aka teammates) might not be as good in Dallas, you can bet that coaching warlock Rick Carlisle is rubbing his hands in glee at the possibilities that Bogut's passing and hard screens open.
In short, this trade is perfect for the Mavericks. Bogey is everything Dallas could possibly ask for in a center to partner Dirk. The only downsides are his age and injury history, and even those could be mitigated by Dallas' excellent medical staff. His contract is up after next season, which means the Mavs maintain financial flexibility (not that they have a very good record of using it), and he even came with a gift of a future second-round draft pick. What's not to love?
I've written before that Bogut is the a-hole you want on your side. With him turning out in Mavericks blue now, I finally get to see how that actually feels like.