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Aussies in NBA: Bogut vs Adams, Battle Down Under
Do you want hard hits? ✔ Are you a fan of untamed, wild, facial hair? ✔ Want a local match up you can easily follow? ✔
There might be sexier storylines this Western Conference Finals, but we've got our eyes on this matchup. With the series featuring the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Golden State Warriors, an epic Trans-Tasman battle of the big men is ready to unfold.
Andrew Bogut versus Steven Adams.
Australia's former #1 draft pick will spend most of this series going head-to-head with New Zealand basketball's most notorious shot blocker.
It's a clash of manly facial hair, a contest of physicality. Expect plenty of trash talk and hard play as the two battle for dominance in the paint.
Let's take a look at the playoffs per-game numbers:
Bogut (10 games): 5.1 points, 7 rebounds (4.6 defensive), 1.4 assists, 1.8 blocks, 0.8 steals in 17.7 minutes
Adams (11 games): 10.2 points, 9.9 rebounds (6.3 defensive), 0.6 assists, 0.8 blocks, 0.5 steals in 32.1 minutes
Bogut is making an impact on defense, with better numbers (defensive rebounds, blocks and steals) in less minutes. These stats obviously have to be taken in context; Bogey earns his checks predominantly on defense, providing rim protection and rebounding on a championship team with overwhelming offensive power.
Adams, on the other hand, has to be more of a legitimate offensive option; the Thunder falter on scoring after their twin rocket boosters in Durant and Westbrook. Zach Lowe wrote as much, essentially calling Adams the X-factor of this OKC team and a huge reason for them being able to overcome San Antonio.
Note that Adams isn't the only talented big the Thunder have. Add Serge Ibaka and Enes Kanter, and that's a lot of size to deal with. According to NBAwowy, the Adams-Kanter pairing account for more than a third of total rebounding opportunities for the Thunder.
Size is going to be a topic. There's no doubt Draymond Green can hold his own on defense and rebounding, but all that Thunder height might mean more playing time for backup center Festus Ezeli, who might provide a bigger rebounding edge.
Bogut's current status
It's likely Ezeli will see more time, with Bogut currently still a doubt for Game 1 due to a right adductor strain sustained in the Game 5 win over the Trail Blazers. According to Ron Kroichick of the SF Chronicle, coach Kerr has confirmed Bogut's return to practice today, but status as still questionable for Game 1.
As interesting as this Australia vs New Zealand mini-subplot is for most of us, you can bet it won't take up too much of Bogut's mind at all. He's the number one unselfish teammate, and recently reiterated his point.
“It’s not a secret. We’ve had a lot of guys who have given up roles and bought into different roles on this team and are happy to do it for the greater good of this team and win games,” Bogut said.
“That’s rare for younger guys to do that. Younger guys usually don’t buy into that because they want to get their numbers and get their contract up, but this is a strange league. There are a lot of leaders on other teams, you’ll hear them say in the media, ‘I want to win,’ but a lot of times it’s on their terms.”
Bogey's straight talking, and he talks the #truth. We already know all he's interested in is another ring (maybe this time for his other middle finger!), and we know he's gonna walk the walk. If that includes stuffing an Adams layup or dunking right on his head, that would just be gravy.