Aussies in NBA: Losing title taints Bogut's solid season, may lead to GSW exit
A title makes all the difference in the world, and Andrew Bogut knew it all along.
“It’s always good to set an all-time record and one that won’t be broken for a long time. But in the grand scheme of things, it adds a little bit more pressure on us to win that ring as well so we still have some work to do.”
That was right after the Warriors set the 73-win mark. After the Finals, he said much of the same.
"I’d give up the 73 wins any day of the week to get a ring! I’d rather go .500 all year and get a championship ring than claim the record and not win it all.
"Who cares about the record now? Some guys might, I definitely don’t.
"That’s the most disappointing thing; we didn’t finish off the great work from the season. There’s no bittersweet feeling for me, it’s just bitter."
And now with the season ending with a Cavaliers parade at the expense of a Warriors one, you betcha a lot has changed. The dominoes of perception are falling one after the other, and Bogey looks like he's been caught in the maelstrom.
If anything, his value to the team should have skyrocketed after how primary backup big man Festus Ezeli crapped the bed super hard once called into heavier action following Bogey's injury. It makes sense to shed Bogut's contract in pursuit of Kevin Durant, but get out of here with these rumours of supposed frustration.
There's even been a suggestion that they'll let Bogut go to bring Dirk Nowitzki in, but as a Mavericks fan in denial right now, I'm just going to stuff my fingers in my ears and go 'na-na-na' on that one.
(In all seriousness, it's highly unlikely to happen, though I guess there could be worse teams for Dirk to wind up on to chase a ring. Like the LA Rivers.)
All this may simply be a way for the Warriors to send out feelers for what they could get in return for the big Aussie as they try to reload after being unable to repeat, but it's still a pretty disappointing way to go about things. This is a teammate the unanimous MVP said made the team stronger, regardless of how many minutes he plays. Bogey may be 'just' a role player, but he's a damn fine one.
He had a solid season to go with it too. It's a little ironic that his season ended in injury, considering that he played the most games this year since 2008, almost a decade ago. He put up impressive plus/minus numbers, led the Dubs in blocks per game, and was also one of the league leaders in field goal percentage. By all accounts, a season to be proud of, and one filled with highlights as well.
It's likely that much of the impetus to move Bogut comes from the larger shift towards small ball in the playoffs. Talented as he is, Bogut is nowhere near as mobile as the likes of Draymond Green or Tristan Thompson, players who can do damage in the paint as well as hold their own on perimeter defense.
While this kind of throws Bogey's regular season achievements under the bus, it's an understandable position to take. The big man himself would agree that the playoffs and the championship are what matter most, not the regular season.
But players who can truly play two-way small ball don't exactly grow on trees, and I think it would make more sense to have the option to play big some nights. Bogut's passing ability also makes him more able to contribute on offense than most other defense-first bigs.
Overall, this all illustrates just how much a title can heal all wounds. For example, if Cleveland had lost, you can be damn sure Kevin Love trade rumours would be dominating the Twitter-verse right now. Instead, he's a Game 7 hero and assured of his place in Cleveland for the foreseeable future. If Golden State had successfully defended their title, do you think we'd be hearing about this 'frustration' with Bogut?
How much of this is overreaction to the loss and how much is the Warriors' front office taking the opportunity to move someone they'd always wanted to is not something we plebs from the outside will ever know, but please don't let it overshadow the fact that Bogey was largely healthy and had as good a season as you could ask of him.
For once, I'm going to go against Bogut's words and say that the title isn't everything. The 2015-16 season should go down as a success in his career.
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