Would a Healthy Andrew Bogut Guarantee a Golden State Warriors Playoff Berth?
Simply put, yes.
In fact, even if he doesn’t come back, the Dubs might make it to the postseason.
Bogut was supposed to be the man that transformed the Warriors into a team that would play decent defense. Coach Mark Jackson has been able to do just that despite the absence of his star center.
The Warriors are only allowing 98.8 points per game (the 13th best in the NBA) mainly because they have been much more physical and have given a consistent effort on the defensive side of the floor. Another key has been their rebounding. With 45.5 boards a game, the Warriors are the fifth best rebounding team in the league.
Now, imagine what will happen when one of the best defensive and rebounding centers in the NBA comes back to defend the paint and control the boards?
You imagine Golden State as a playoff team? I did.
With Bogut, the Warriors could end up being a top 10 defensive and rebounding team.
But we’re not done.
The Warriors are averaging 99.7 points per game on offense. Good for 11th best in the NBA. And that’s with two rookies in the starting lineup! Once Bogut gets back, he will be a stronger threat offensively than Festus Ezeli, whose ability to step in as the starting center has been nothing short of spectacular. It will provide even more of an offensive punch.
Having Andrew back will only help the shooters. He is an offensive weapon that opponents will have to worry about in the post and his presence will free up the perimeter. Also, it should be mentioned that the Warriors are performing this well offensively despite the fact that Klay Thompson is shooting 40 percent from the field. Expect that to improve with or without Bogut on the floor.
His return will push Ezeli to the bench, strengthening a second unit which has been spectacular this season behind the offseason acquisitions of Jarrett Jack and Carl Landry.
And suffice it to say, the Warriors can actually feature a three-headed center machine with Andris Biedrins. He is actually playing well enough to earn a spot in the rotation even when Bogut is back. A productive 10 minutes a game out of him is more than anything Warriors fans could have possibly dreamed about for Christmas this season.
A big reason for the Warriors' strong performance is the health (fingers crossed) of Stephen Curry. Everyone knew he was capable of performing at a high level, and despite a slow start, he is proving to be one of the best point guards in the league. As long as he remains on the floor, the Warriors can plan on playing in the postseason for just the second time in 19 seasons.
The only person that might suffer is David Lee, whose numbers can’t possibly improve with the return of Bogut. Lee is performing at the level that management thought he was capable of when they acquired him from the Knicks, and has shed the label as a “player who puts up numbers on bad teams.” He may not benefit having Bogut back, but he is certainly able to continue at the pace he is currently on.
The biggest difference with this Warriors team from years past is the play on the road.
They are 8-4 on the road!
Only two more road victories and they match their road-win total from the entire 2010-2011 NBA season, the last 82-game schedule played. As of December 11th the San Antonio Spurs are the only team that has more road victories than the Warriors. Having Bogut will only help secure more road wins when the games get tighter come February and March.
According to John Hollinger of ESPN.com, Golden State has an 81.6 percent chance of making the playoffs this year, or as Warriors fans probably look at it, an 18.4 percent chance of not making it.
You don’t need me to tell you that those are goods odds.
And that’s with Bogut having played in only four games!
The Dubs are playing great team basketball right now, and they are doing it despite having two of their top six players out with an injury.
If the Warriors can continue this pace and get a healthy Bogut back into the lineup sooner rather than later, that 81.6 percent chance of the Golden State Warriors making the 2013 NBA Playoffs will turn into 99.9 percent.
He just needs to come back 100 percent healthy.
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