Aussies in NBA: Andrew Bogut shares his defensive secrets
|Winston Zhang||Apr 11, 2016|
Andrew Bogut is the veteran of our current Aussies in the NBA. He's had an eventful career, to say the least. Top overall draft pick and franchise cornerstone? Check. Career-changing injury? Check. Falling into (mainstream) irrelevancy? Check. Going through a renaissance to become a key part of a historic Golden State Warriors team? Can I get a hell yeah?
For a long time now, Bogey has been seen as a role player. A decent guy to have on the team, but easily replaceable by any other 7-footer who can walk and chew gum at the same time. But a rising tide lifts all boats, and the Dubs' incredible couple of seasons has given Bogut some time in the spotlight himself.
Bogut's smart defense, imaginative passing, and brick wall screens have finally been noticed by NBA people and media this season, and hearing Bogues talk about the thought process behind them all is always fascinating. He revealed the behind-the-scenes of his screen setting on the Bill Simmons podcast a little while back, and now he's talked about what it's like defending in the post.
"[Getting into position early] makes it much easier. If you guard a guy with a foot in the paint, he makes the catch, they’re too talented. They’re going to score." Bogut explained. Sounds easy enough; keep them far from the basket and it's much more difficult to toss it in. But there's more to it.
"Most guys, you want to push off the block. But in saying that, there are some unique circumstances of guys who like catching it off the block. Melo (Carmelo Anthony) is one of those guys. Al Jefferson. They like to turn and face you and have that face. Z-Bo (Zach Randolph) [is another one]." Oh. So now what?
"I just do my work early. If they want to catch it off the block, I can move my feet quick enough to stay in front of them, it’s fine." He makes it sound like the simplest thing on earth, doesn't he? But this confidence comes from experience and veteran savvy.
"I don’t watch a whole lot of film to be honest with you. I watch a little bit. I don’t overdo it. I’ve been in the league long enough to know every guy’s tendencies in this league. You ask me something, I can tell you." Bogey confidently concluded.
This invaluable combination of experience and smarts is a big part of why the Warriors have been so good this season, and it's also why Bogut has become an expert at putting up the most incredible nondescript box scores. He knows when exactly to do what exactly, a lot of which doesn't show up in any stat sheets. But don't mistake that for a lack of recognition or appreciation for his efforts.
"The way especially San Antonio like to move the ball and force you into rotations and get into the paint, [Bogut]'s capable of being physical and blocking shots, and altering shots if he doesn't get a piece of it," Stephen Curry said after Golden State's recent No. 1 seed-clinching victory over the San Antonio Spurs.
"He gives us a stronger line-up on the defensive end and no matter how many minutes he plays, when he's out there he makes an impact. We need everybody at full strength to do what we need to do this year and Bogut is a big part of that."
You'd certainly find it difficult to argue with the MVP candidate with Bogut displaying impeccable help defense timing on this denial of LaMarcus Aldridge:
Too quick, and Aldridge can pass it out or otherwise recycle the possession. Too slow, and it's an open lay-up. Bogey did it just right, and it became an emphatic rejection. As a happy bonus, it was also his 400th block as a Warrior, putting him in the top 10 in blocks in Warrior history.
Nice to see some numbers backing up his on-court work! Now let's see if Bogut can help the Warriors clinch 73 wins, and, more importantly, a second title on the trot.