If it wasn’t for the 2013 playoffs, Bogut would be the exact opposite of a fan favorite, a label that belonged to Ellis prior to the trade. He missed 38 games between November and January with a bum left ankle. Even subsequent to his return, his mobility was limited and his comfort level in Golden State’s offense was less-than-appealing. It was just a disaster.
But as Bogut started to log consistent minutes towards the end of the regular season, he found his place. It was and still isn’t as a 20-point, 10-rebound player. His job description simply consisted of playing defense and providing an outlet Warriors guards could turn to on offense.
And boy, has he done that increasingly well in nine playoffs games.
The stats will tell an accurate story. With Bogut on the floor, the Warriors have an offensive rating of 111.2. Without him, that numbers drops to 101.4. Golden State’ defensive rating follows the same trend. With him, it’s a 100.1. Without him, it’s 108.7. For reference, both defensive rating and offensive rating are measured per 100 possessions.
Across the board, Bogut’s presence is noticeable in the stats. It’s not worth listing all of them, as there are a lot of them. But here’s a brief summary: They turn the ball over less, shoot better from the field, play at a more controlled pace and rebound the ball better. If you need the numbers to concur, head over to NBA.com.
It’s tough to entirely understand Bogut’s impact just through the plain numbers, though. This applies even more so if you prefer to visually see his impact.
Often times, the Denver Nuggets trapped Curry, sending multiple defenders his way. So with David Lee on the shelf, Bogut stepped up as Curry’s primary outlet. Bogut obviously isn’t the mid-range shooter that Lee is, but his cunning passing abilities serve as a lethal weapon in situations like the one above.
Now, imagine if Bogut wasn’t available to serve as Curry’s outlet. It’s conceivable to consider that the Nuggets would’ve cake-walked through the first round, as Curry would be hounded and the Warriors’ offense would thus be in limbo. Just to clarify, if Curry is in limbo, the Warriors are indeed in limbo.
Instead, Bogut forced Denver to eventually eliminate the trap because passes like the one above carved up Denver’s defense to the point where it just wasn’t worth sacrificing a relatively clear inside to double Curry. To be sure, Bogut’s passing displays aren’t one-a-game type events. Had that been the case, the Nuggets would’ve continued to relentlessly press Curry.
Let’s look at exhibit B:
Here, Bogut’s experience is at the forefront of the play. He patiently waits for Klay Thompson to work his way through a series of screens and when Thompson gets to his spot, he delivers a perfectly placed pass. A lesser experienced big might have grown anxious and thrown the ball away.
Also, notice that Bogut draws one of San Antonio’s big men out of lane. In this specific set, it’s Boris Diaw, but the big could also be Tim Duncan or Tiago Splitter. Drawing one of those three out of the lane and onto the perimeter, makes the interior portion of the floor much more penetration-friendly. For instance, if Thompson didn’t have a shot in the above scheme, he had an alternative lane.
And finally, exhibit C:
It’s hard to imagine Bogut as being much an effective passer off the dribble, but that’s precisely the description of the above footage.
Let’s clarify something first: Bogut’s isn’t mobile and neither is Duncan. So when Bogut drives at Barnes’ defender, Duncan, No. 21, isn’t quick enough to contest the slashing Barnes.
In short, Bogut keeps the Spurs’ big men on their heels. And generally, that doesn’t favor the big men.
So, there you have it: The Bogut Effect.