Last season, Andrew Bogut missed 50 games. The season before that 54. The season before that 17. It’s been a long time since we’ve really seen a healthy Bogut for an extended period.
But we also saw in the playoffs last season what a healthy Bogut means to Golden State — he is their defensive anchor inside, he averaged 7.2 points a game shooting 58 percent, while pulling down 10.9 rebounds a game. His passing skills are a great fit with shooters like Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson.
The Warriors with the addition of Andre Iguodala are a playoff lock in the West, but how far they can go will depend on a healthy Bogut and his presence in the paint. The team thinks he’s healthy and are treating him as such, GM Bob Meyer told the Sporting News.
“I think the initial thought is he is healthy, and play him as much as you want,” general manager Bob Myers told Sporting News. “If something obviously were to develop, something unforeseen, you have to react to it. At this point, you treat him like he is 100 percent healthy, that is what he is saying, that is what the medical staff is saying, so, you don’t treat him any other way. Maybe the question is, do you want to play him 35 minutes? But that is a question for any center. It is not due to anything with his injury. We’re approaching it like he is healthy.”
Golden State is clearly going to try and keep Bogut’s minutes down, something you can tell just by looking at the roster. There is Festus Ezeli, Jermaine O’Neal and Marreese Speights all who can take on minutes at the five and keep Bogut down in the 28 minutes a night range. Which would be about the top end of where I’d want him.
If Bogut is healthy he will upgrade the Warriors pedestrian defense from last season. Do that with Andre Iguodala on the wing helping the perimeter defense, and if this all melds together on the offensive end the Warriors are a very dangerous team come playoff time.
The second round was supposed to be when things got exciting. Instead, the San Antonio Spurs put on an absolute clinic at home, blowing out the Oklahoma City Thunder, 124-92 to take a 1-0 series lead.
Just about everything went in for San Antonio, particularly for LaMarcus Aldridge and Kawhi Leonard, who combined for 63 points. How dominant were they?
Aldridge in particular got anything he wanted against the Thunder. Oklahoma City’s stars were quiet, with Kevin Durant scoring just 16 points and Russell Westbrook 14. San Antonio controlled the game from the start and Oklahoma City never recovered from the opening punch.
It’s hard to imagine Durant and Westbrook are this ineffective again, and hopefully the rest of this series will be a little more competitive. But the Spurs did what the Spurs do, and did nothing to shake the feeling that they’re the favorites to win the west, now that Stephen Curry‘s status is unknown.
ATLANTA (AP) A year ago, Atlanta’s magical season ended with a resounding sweep by Cleveland in the Eastern Conference final.
Now, the Hawks have another shot at LeBron James and the Cavaliers.
Feeling confident after an opening-round victory over Boston, the Hawks returned to practice Saturday to begin preparations for the best-of-seven series.
Game 1 is Monday night in Cleveland.
The Hawks were the top-seeded team in the East last season after a record 60-win campaign. It didn’t do them much good against the Cavaliers, who steamrolled Atlanta in four straight games.
Even though they slipped to 48 wins and fourth in the conference, the Hawks actually sound a bit more confident heading into this matchup, largely because of their improved defense and rebounding.
For the second consecutive year, the Warriors have lost their lead assistant to another team. When the Pelicans hired Alvin Gentry during last year’s playoffs, Steve Kerr promoted Luke Walton to associate head coach and added former journeyman big man Jarron Collins to the bench. Now that Walton is headed to the Lakers as their next head coach, the Warriors will go outside the organization to find a replacement, according to ESPN.com’s Marc Stein. And one name that will likely not be in the mix is David Blatt, who very nearly became an assistant under Kerr in 2014 before being offered the Cavaliers’ head job.
Given Walton’s success this season as interim head coach while Kerr recovered from back surgery, this will undoubtedly be the most attractive assistant job in the league.
In the last few years, NBA head coaching salaries have skyrocketed, and new Lakers coach Luke Walton is no exception. According to the Los Angeles Times‘ Mike Bresnahan, Walton is getting $25 million over five years, which is the same as Steve Kerr’s deal with the Warriors, now-former Knicks coach Derek Fisher’s deal in New York, and Fred Hoiberg’s deal with the Bulls.
This kind of money has become standard for head coaches who don’t also have front-office power. Tom Thibodeau and Stan Van Gundy both get between $7 and $8 million annually to do both jobs. Given how good Walton’s current situation with the Warriors is, the Lakers probably had to be on the high end of the coaching spectrum to get him to leave.