With Andrew Bogut gone, Steve Kerr says Warriors will have “growing pains” on defense

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Andrew Bogut didn’t do the high-flying spectacular shot blocks that end up on the highlight package, but he is an elite defensive center. Not only can he play man defense in the post, but he also anticipates the play amazingly well and had his big body in the way and protecting the rim. When he sat, the athletic rim protection of Festus Ezeli was often on the court. They helped anchor the Warriors defense that has been top five in the NBA two seasons running.

Now they are both gone, salary cap sacrifices to bring in Kevin Durant.

Steve Kerr told Monte Poole of CSNBayArea.com that with them gone, and Zaza Pachulia taking over the role at the five, the team’s defense will have to adjust.

“The thing that’s different will be a lack of rim protection,” Kerr told CSNBayArea.com. “We had great rim protection from Bogut and Ezeli, and both those guys are gone. Zaza’s a very good defender, but he’s more of a positional guy than a shot blocker.

“So there’s definitely adjustments we’ll have to make, even schematically. We’ll have some growing pains, especially on defense, as we try to make sure we get everything right and comfortable.”

The Warriors brass has been busy tamping down expectations for their superteam, saying they expect some struggles early. And we’ve seen that with other alleged superteams — the first season of the Heat took time to gel, the Lakers’ superteam never came together.

That said, by Christmas, expect the Warriors to be rolling. Too much talent and too many selfless players for this not to work.