Not only are the Golden State Warriors playing well at the right time, winners of seven of their last 10 games, they possess a few things that their first-round opponent might not be ready for.
Most of that stems from the emergence of Andrew Bogut, who is starting to look a lot like Andrew Bogut.
In his last 10 games, Bogut has averaged 7.2 points, 8.3 rebounds and 2.3 assists per game. Any team the Warriors face in the first round will surely not be ready for his offensive impact in addition to all the scorers that Golden State has. Especially since the contribution Bogut made prior to his resurgence was been minimal at best.
The Warriors now feature offensive talent with every player in their rotation except for Festus Ezeli, who provides them with size and defense up front. One can never have enough toughness up front no matter how detrimental they are on offense. Kendrick Perkins is still a fixture for the Oklahoma City Thunder, right?
Speaking of toughness, Bogut has been even better on the defensive side. By averaging 2.4 blocks per game while providing a physical presence in the middle, the Warriors are allowing just 93 points per game since his return.
Golden State was already good defensively without Bogut. The team is that much better with him. Its opponents won’t have the memory or experience to fully prepare for that.
What Bogut allows the Warriors to do now is match up with any opponent that they will face.
The Western Conference is extremely competitive this season. No matter which team Golden State draws it is going to be a rigorous test, but now with Bogut it will be ready for any challenge that comes its way.
A lot has been made as to who the Warriors will end up playing in the first round, but whoever it is, they will be ready for them.
Golden State has the quickness to match up with the likes of the Denver Nuggets, but if it faces a tough defensive-minded team—think Memphis Grizzlies—it might have been a big problem for them a month ago. Now, with a healthy Bogut, the Warriors match up well with Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph down low.
Andrew also allows them to line up with the Los Angeles Clippers. While Chris Paul is a matchup nightmare for any team, Bogut now clogs up the middle on defense. So when Paul inevitably gets into the lane, he will have to deal with a seven-foot shot-blocker guarding the rim. The Clippers shouldn’t scare Warrior fans.
If they have to face the San Antonio Spurs or Thunder, well just cross your fingers it doesn’t come to that. But if it does, they can now hold their own.
The emergence of Bogut is really changing the look of the Warriors. And since his health and stellar play is fairly new, teams will likely not be ready for it.
Golden State is now going to be an extremely dangerous team with the various lineups it can feature. Don’t forget the Warriors are second in the NBA in rebounds per game to go with their top-10 scoring unit. Paired with a strong defense, they have the complete package.
Featuring a healthy Bogut with the rest of their explosive unit, Warrior fans shouldn’t be worried about which opponent their team is facing. It’s more likely that any potential opponent fans are just hoping they don’t have to face Golden State.
Yes, the fans will be big. Golden State owns one of the best home-crowd advantages in the NBA. You have to know the Warriors are good for one playoff win.
Being there the last time the Warriors were in the first round of the playoffs, I can tell you first hand that whenever they host their first-round playoff game, Oracle Arena is going to be the loudest place in the entire U.S.
No team will be ready for the loudness that comes from a Warriors home crowd when they host a playoff game. Pair that with the Warriors' versatility, and a first-round upset seems very possible.