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Aussies in the NBA: Time for Bogut to get more involved on offense?
Is it possible that the team might need an increased contribution from Bogut in the days ahead? Andrew Bogut has not been the focus of the Warriors' offense this season. He facilitates, but has seldom been called upon for heavy duty scoring work.
In the recent loss to the Spurs, it seemed like the Warriors could not get a consistent rhythm going in the early half. They trailed 17-31 at the end of the first, and were behind by 19 points at halftime. The Warriors ended up being outscored in three consecutive quarters, and lost the game 107-92.
Random statistic: the Spurs' defense wasn't just giving them physical pressure, but likely mental too. The Golden State starters could not even score consistently on open shots, despite having more opportunities. They made less uncontested shots (9 of 26) compared to the San Antonio starters (15 of 23) that night. Yes, it did sound rather bad.
Back to Bogut though. He made a noticeable difference on the team's offense, in terms of providing a post presence and being a roll man, something a lot of the other Warriors don't offer. Look at this possession, when Klay's cut into the paint did not open up any opportunities, and no one else was left open. Bogut took the initiative and attacked the paint, scoring with a hook shot over Tim Duncan.
[gfycat data_id="UnrealisticLargeDassie" data_autoplay=true data_expand=true] This was a really good SLOB (sideline out of bounds) play. Just a simple high screen and roll from Curry and Bogut, that offered immediate results and stemmed the bleeding. Duncan moved up to cover Curry's drive, and Bogut was left open without a help defender. Cue the Curry dish to the big man, and an unimpended Bogut jam.
[gfycat data_id="VacantCalculatingAsianporcupine" data_autoplay=true data_expand=true] Bogut was ready to help Klay out on this one, as it seemed like he was having issues going one-on-one against Danny Green. Bogut set a screen to bump Green off, and Duncan was forced to switch and cover Klay instead. Recognising the mismatch, Bogey immediately ran around Green, and Klay threw a well-timed lob for the Bogut dunk.
[gfycat data_id="EssentialGleamingBaboon" data_autoplay=true data_expand=true] None of these things are anything earthshaking, but it's things like these that the small-ball lineups struggle with. Outside of Livingston and Green, we don't see Warriors players on the post much. Bogut obviously, is an accomplished player on the post and thrives at being the roll man. It makes sense that the Warriors should design more looks around Bogut when the slower-paced postseason approaches, especially if their schemes yield no open looks.
Let's talk about passing too. How often have we seen Bogey making the right pass? In this play, he spies Curry scrambling for an open shot at the basket, and rifles the ball neatly into Curry's shooting pocket, ready for the finish. He gets fouled by Patty, but the speed and timing of this one-handed pass from the three-point line is just impressive.
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Thoughts on defense
Some random thoughts on Bogut's defense.
This obviously doesn't happen every night, and Tim Duncan is likely one of the toughest big men for Bogut to guard. It's still worrying to see Bogut baited into a shot fake. We can talk all we want about verticality and quote Roy Hibbert as an example all night long, but this is likely still going to be a thing. Caution is definitely needed. [gfycat data_id="DefenselessFarflungIcelandicsheepdog" data_autoplay=true data_expand=true]
The question with no good answer
An interesting situation to think about. Faced with a mismatch against Klay Thompson, Tony Parker elected to leave the longer defender on himself. A Duncan screen got Klay scrambling under to recover, and Parker got an open look for his elbow jumper. It's likely a case of pick your poison, as Duncan would have likely received the ball if Klay had managed to fight over the screen.
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Is this the best defensive option though? Should Bogut have helped to stop Parker, by showing hard? Logically, you would say that Bogut's role as the rim protector demands that he stay in the paint at all times. Would all these mid-range jumpers prove to be a killer down the stretch though?
Just another little thought that I'd like to see answered in the playoffs. For now, let's continue to observe Bogut's role on offense, and whether the team will tweak his role to include increased scoring.