Author: Dan Feldman

Andrew Bogut, Festus Ezeli

Report: Andrew Bogut re-taking starting spot from Festus Ezeli

Leave a comment

Warriors center Andrew Bogutwho suffered a concussion – has played just five games and started only one this season.

On the other hand, Golden State is 6-0 without Bogut and 4-0 with him in reserve.

It’s tough being the champs.

Warriors coach Luke Walton faces the tough choice between continuing to start Festus Ezeli, who’s playing well, or switching back to Bogut, who’s playing even better.

Monte Poole of CSN Bay Area:

After raising the team’s defensive standard while grabbing 18 rebounds in a win over Brooklyn last Saturday, center Andrew Bogut will return to the starting lineup for the Warriors.

The move could happen as soon as Tuesday night, when the Warriors meet Toronto at Oracle Arena.

Interim coach Luke Walton implied nothing official has been decided, but a team source indicated Bogut is almost certain to start against massive Raptors center Jonas Valanciunas.

Both Bogut (7.4 points on 69.2% shooting, 9.0 rebounds and 1.6 blocks in 21.2 minutes per game) and Ezeli (8.7 points on 57.4% shooting, 5.7 rebounds and 1.5 blocks in 19.8 minutes per game) have produced well this season. There’s not really a wrong answer here.

But it seems Bogut, who has been the full-time starter, has a little better chemistry with the Warriors’ other top players.

Here are Golden State’s offensive/defensive/net ratings with Bogut and Ezeli with the team’s most-used guard-forward foursomes:

With Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green and Harrison Barnes:

  • Bogut: 118.1/84.7/+33.4 in 19 minutes
  • Ezeli: 106.0/102.5/+3.5 in 107 minutes

With Curry, Thompson, Green and Andre Iguodala:

  • Bogut: 103.9/72.3/31.6 in 11 minutes
  • Ezeli: 115.6/86.5/+29.1 in 41 minutes

Bogut provides more defensively, and his high-post passing and offensive rebounds are excellent assets. Ezeli is a better athlete, helping to push the pace, and he’s no defensive slouch himself.

The veteran Bogut has been amenable to coming off the bench. Golden State has type of culture, with Iguodala accepting a reserve role last year. Plus, Bogut has already received a couple big contracts.

Ezeli, on the other hand, is on his rookie-scale deal and without an extension. At least this stretch has provided more evidence Ezeli – five years younger than Bogut – can be Golden State’s center of the future.

But the Warriors’ main goals are very much of the present, and Bogut starting probably furthers them.

Report: Timberwolves nearly picked Giannis Antetokounmpo over Shabazz Muhammad

Giannis Antetokounmpo, Tayshaun Prince, Ricky Rubio

The Bucks drafted Giannis Antetokounmpo with the No. 15 pick in the 2013 NBA draft.

Mavericks president Donnie Nelson supposedly wanted to draft Antetokounmpo with the No. 13 pick. Instead, Mark Cuban overruled him, and Dallas traded down.

That apparently wasn’t the only close call that could’ve prevented Milwaukee from nabbing the Greek Freak.

Apparently, the Timberwolves – who had the Jazz draft Shabazz Muhammad with the No. 14 pick as part of a trade – also strongly considered him.

Zach Lowe of ESPN:

They nearly picked Giannis Antetokounmpo over Muhammad before settling on Muhammad as the clock was ticking in the draft room, per several sources.

There are a couple problems with this:

1. The only people who could truly know this are Timberwolves executives, and they’re incentivized to make themselves look better. This could be completely true, embellished or a flat-out lie. It’s practically impossible to know without being in the room. I’d guess the people sharing seem trustworthy – Lowe is a responsible reporter – but there’s a limit on how much that means.

2. Teams never leak when their close calls turn out wrong. You’d never hear if the Timberwolves were also strongly considering Sergey Karasev with Muhammad and Antetokounmpo or if they nearly took Joel Embiid over Andrew Wiggins the following year.

So, let’s no give Minnesota too much credit. Unless you show your board before the draft, you get credit for the player you pick – not the players you almost pick.

Besides, selecting Antetokounmpo could’ve completely altered the Timberwolves’ trajectory. They might not have Wiggins or Karl-Anthony Towns if they’d taken Antetokounmpo.

But, just for fun, imagine a team with Antetokounmpo, Wiggins and Towns (plus Ricky Rubio, Zach LaVine, Nemanja Bjelica and Gorgui Dieng). Wow!

Celtics: Terrence Jones disrespected Amir Johnson, leading to minor skirmish (video)


The Celtics and Rockets got into a little dust-up last night.

Amir Johnson lost the ball out of bounds, and it fell behind him/between his arm and side. Terrence Jones tried to pick it up to start Houston’s possession before Boston’s defense could get set, but he got a little aggressive in the process.

That led to several small things that, while all minor in isolation, combined for a decent altercation:

Jones, Harden and Thomas received technical fouls for the play.

Crowder and Thomas, via A. Sherrod Blakely of CSN Northeast:

“We had a guy down and their guy (Jones) kind of straddled (Johnson) and wouldn’t let our guy up,” Crowder said. “We saw it as a sign of disrespect. We just came to his rescue, and we weren’t having it. That’s what sparked it.”

“I just went to go protect my teammate,” Thomas told reporters after the game. “It was very disrespectful to stand over somebody.”

The Celtics got the last laugh, going on a 28-8 run immediately after the incident en route to a 111-95 win.

Marcus Smart, falling back, launches full-court assist to Avery Bradley (video)


Marcus Smart must have a lot of confidence in his teammates to throw this pass without fearing the opponent would win the race to the ball.

Oh, the Celtics were playing the Rockets.