Warriors Center Andrew Bogut Credits Scott Skiles for Defensive Prowess

Jim Cavan@@JPCavanContributor IMarch 22, 2014

Mar 2, 2014; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Golden State Warriors center Andrew Bogut (12) during their game against the Toronto Raptors at Air Canada Centre. The Raptors beat the Warriors 104-98. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports
Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sport

Whether he was manning the point for Michigan State, dishing an NBA-record 30 assists in a single game or patrolling the sidelines as a three-time coach—most recently for the Milwaukee Bucks—Scott Skiles has always been a tough customer.

Read: not the most popular guy among players.

But count Andrew Bogut as one player willing to credit Skiles for helping the Golden State Warriors center become the player he is today, as he did in an interview with the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel's Charles F. Gardner:

"Thankfully playing under...Scott one thing I learned was to really play defense as a big," Bogut said. "That's helped me get the contract I did here."

MILWAUKEE, WI - DECEMBER 27:  Head coach Scott Skiles and Andrew Bogut #6 of the Milwaukee Bucks discuss strategy during the game against the Detroit Pistons on December 27, 2008 at the Bradley Center in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The Pistons won 87-76. NOTE T
Gary Dineen/Getty Images

"Here" as in Milwaukee, where the Australian big man signed a five-year, $60 million extension back in 2009.

Owing to a string of injuries and subsequent setbacks, Bogut never quite stuck with the Bucks, who traded him to the Warriors on March 13, 2012.

He may not have turned into the superstar many had hoped for, but Bogut's defensive presence has been perpetually up to snuff. In fact, his defensive rating this season (96, per Basketball-Reference.com), would be the best of his nine-year career.

Indeed, he's a huge reason why the Warriors are currently charting the league's third-best defensive efficiency (99.5), per ESPN.com.

Bleacher Report's Scott Burns dug down more deeply into how Bogut's presence has helped not only transform the Warriors, but also revitalize his own career as well:

In baseball terms, he is the catcher of the team. He barks out orders, positions his teammates on defense, forces teams to amend their offensive strategies and is the last line of defense. The addition of [Andre] Iguodala in the frontcourt only makes Bogut's job easier. He no longer has to overcompensate for two defenders. As a result, he has his highest per-game rebounding total since his last healthy season in 2010-11.

What's more, per USA Today's Sam Amick, it looks like Bogut will be sticking around the Bay Area a bit longer, having signed a three-year, $36 million extension back in October.

As for Skiles, it's unclear how soon—or if at all—a head coaching job might fall in his lap.

Maybe he should try reeling in a few more endorsements like this one. It certainly couldn't hurt.