When the Anchor Sinks the Ship
Andrew Bogut played 22 minutes last night, against perhaps the biggest team in the NBA. Part of the reason for this is that Kerr wanted to go small and more offensive with the Warriors trailing, but a larger part, and why the Dubs were trailing in the first place, is that Bogut was just plain awful. The Warriors play 4 on 5 on the offensive end when Bogut is on the floor, and that’s usually fine both because of the absurd shooting around him and what he brings on the defensive end. But Bogut has been a ghost so far this series, not affecting shots at the rim, and most significantly, playing terrible post defense against the most post heavy team in the league.
Draymond Green was always going to have trouble guarding one of the Grizz bigs, creating a matchup problem, but I assumed that Bogut could guard the other one, and thus far this series, he hasn’t been able to. Randolph has eaten him up, to the point that I would consider sending a double team next game, which would have seen ridiculous to me before the series. This is why Bogut is on the team, he has very little value besides what he brings defensively, and right now that is next to nothing. Having him guard Gasol, or rather stand 10 feet away from him at the top of the key as Gasol comfortably orchestrates the offense, has been an even less feasible option.
Bogut is the most important defensive player for the Warriors this series. Draymond Green, Klay Thompson, and Andre Igoudala’s versatility and ability to switch on defensive doesn’t matter as much against the Grizzlies; post defense does, and Bogut at least theoretically is the best Warrior at that. He is the foundation the Dubs defense is built on, everything revolves around the assumption that he will dominate the area around the basket, and instead he’s being beasted down there.
- I’m sure there will be plenty of attention on Curry’s play today, so I won’t get too deep into it, but it’s hard to overstate how bad he has been. The last two games the Warriors would have been better off replacing him with a league-average point guard. Even if he’s not hitting his jumper, he could be using the threat of that to stretch the defense and create shots for his teammates, instead he’s throwing passes into the third row and committing backbreaking turnovers. He’s almost creating more open shots for the Grizzlies than he is for the Warriors.
- Lots of the quotes I’ve heard from Warrior players have been something the effect of “our shots just aren’t falling, they’ll start to fall soon.” Well you’re halfway out of the playoffs. The difference between good and great teams is making your shots when they matter. There are 22 teams sitting at home right now whose “shots wouldn’t fall.” Be better. You have been all season.
- Free throwing is another under the radar problem for the Warriors. We’ve yet to really see Hack-A-Bogut, but that remains a real and very ugly possibility, especially if Curry or Thompson gets hot. Looking at Andre Igoudala’s career free throwing numbers is like staring into the sun. I’ve had to rethink things I thought were certain about the nature of life and the universe at large. I just don’t understand how someone can get so demonstrably worse at something the more they do it.