The Golden State Warriors will be an exciting team for a different reason this season.
They are actually going to be a decent defensive team. It's strange to be looking forward to defensive slug-fests, yet here we are.
I guess that comes from years of watching your team try to outscore opponents every night, but routinely coming up short.
Yes, this season will be different all because of one man:
Mark Jackson was brought in to implement a defensive mindset. Last year didn’t turn out well, mainly because there was no one on the team that could actually play defense.
Kind of a problem.
The Warriors allowed 101.2 points per game last season putting them 28th in the entire NBA.
That should have been expected with the talent, or lack thereof, on the roster. The Warriors are full of adequate—to be nice—defenders on their team.
Those adequate defenders will improve thanks to the addition of a healthy Bogut.
At last, the Warriors have a center that can block shots, grab rebounds and disrupt anything that comes into the paint. The Warriors defense improves on his size alone. Remember how much better the Warriors defense was with Kwame Brown? Now, they have someone with size who can actually play in the paint.
With Bogut as the centerpiece of the defense, the Warrior defenders can get more aggressive.
Last season, if a defender got by them that was it. There was no one coming in to stop them. Now, Warriors defenders can actually allow opponents into the paint (really something you want to avoid) and still be okay. This is because they have one of the NBA’s best shot-blockers backing them up.
“Bogut's stellar defensive on-court/off-court ratings underline his instrumental role on that side of the floor: minus-4.9 per 100 possessions in 2009-10; minus-3.0 in 2010-11; and an absurd minus-10.0 in 2011-12 (albeit in just 12 games). All this is to say that no one could score on the Bucks when Bogut took the floor. Without him? The Bucks had just another average defense.”
Yep, the Warriors will actually be a decent defensive team because of Bogut.
I say decent defensive team because expectations need to be tempered.
Bogut is not going to be on the floor for 48 minutes a game and likely not for all 82 games in the season.
The Warriors are going to have to step up defensively on their own.
Remember, Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and David Lee are going to be playing major minutes. They are great players, but they are not exactly going to garner any All-NBA Defensive team votes. Bogut will make them better, but not that much better.
A lot is riding on rookie Festus Ezeli as well. The Warriors are likely to resign to the fact that Andris Biedrins won’t be able to step in for Bogut. They are expected to rely on the 22-year-old to anchor the second unit defensively. That’s a lot to ask of a rookie that was the final pick in the first round.
Bogut can make a Tyson Chandler-on-the-Dallas Mavericks-type impact for the Warriors. In fact, outside Chandler and Dwight Howard, Bogut is the best defensive center in the entire NBA. Whether or not the rest of the team steps up defensively is another question. Remember, there is no Shawn Marion in this group.
How well Coach Jackson uses his lineups and rotations is a factor.
He has one of the best defenders on his team now, but getting the right rotations to balance the offense and defense is key.
Bogut will make the Warriors a decent defensive team with a high ceiling.
How close they get to that ceiling hinges on the health of Bogut and how well they play without him on the floor.