Is Full-Strength Andrew Bogut Enough for the Golden State Warriors?

Scott Burns@Follow @ScottInTheBayCorrespondent IIINovember 18, 2013

Andrew Bogut can lead the Warriors to the next level.
Andrew Bogut can lead the Warriors to the next level.Rocky Widner/Getty Images

Andrew Bogut is contributing to the Golden State Warriors lineup this season, but is a full-strength Bogut enough for the team to escalate to the elite level?

Ownership and fans would like to see the same Bogut that was on display during the playoffs minus the injury concerns that languished throughout last season. He was a dominant force, and a player who significantly changed the course of the game.

This season, Bogut has done all of the little things well, but he hasn’t had the standout highlights fans were expecting to see. He has secured the rebounds, teamed up with Stephen Curry and Andre Iguodala for alley-oops and been a defensive force.

But his offensive statistics are lacking.

Through November 16, Bogut has put up a line of 6.4 PPG, 7.9 RPG, 2.4 APG and 1.5 BPG in 25.1 minutes. 

His career line looks like 12.1 PPG, 9.2 RPG, 2.3 APG and 1.6 BPG in 32 minutes.

That being said, Bogut recorded his first double-double of the season against the Utah Jazz on November 16, and there has been an uptick in his production recently.

The biggest reason to have Bogut on the court is his ability to be an enforcer. As shown in the clip below, he does not take anything from the Los Angeles Clippers' DeAndre Jordan.

He is one of the best at finding ways to get under the opponents’ skin, which results in plays similar to the technical foul Oklahoma City Thunder’s Kevin Durant received for openly shoving Bogut in frustration.

He has a very high basketball IQ for a big man, as he knows how to gain the added advantage on each play. He makes his mark by providing the extra effort, especially with big rebounds or blocks.

In the clip, Bogut makes the block on the Los Angeles Lakers' Pau Gasol, runs upcourt, takes the pass from David Lee, drives with the ball and locates Iguodala for the dunk.

Coach Mark Jackson has been limiting his playing time so far this season by playing him 30 minutes or longer only three times through November 16. With the recent injury to backup center Jermaine O’Neal, Bogut will be forced to snag a few more minutes each game.

The Warriors are limited at that position because Festus Ezeli is already out until the start of next year and fourth-string center Ognjen Kuzmic is the only remaining backup. Coach Jackson will have to rotate Marreese Speights and David Lee in at times to give Bogut a breather.

When Bogut is on the offensive end, he is a good ball-handler and has good vision. In the clip below, he gets double-teamed, throws a pass while falling out of bounds to Harrison Barnes and sneaks back in for the dunk. 

He knows how to get dirty inside and set screens for Lee or Iguodala in order for either to hit the open jumper. Screens do not show up on traditional stats, but they are a big reason Bogut makes the Warriors so effective on the offensive side of the ball.         

The Warriors made sure Bogut was going to stay in Oakland by signing him to a three-year, $36 million deal and keeping him away from the free-agent market. With not many legitimate centers available, the team wanted to keep its quality asset.

He showed some of that skill level in the Warriors’ first test against an elite team, the Oklahoma City Thunder. He teamed with Curry for one of his signature slams.

In the highlight, Curry has the ball when Bogut comes over to screen Russell Westbrook. Bogut then rolls to the basket, where he receives the ball in the middle of the key and takes it to the hoop for a rim-rocking dunk.

With such a dynamic roster, Bogut won’t steal the headlines on many nights. However, he is vital cog to the team.

He is the controller of the frontcourt, and he barks out directions as he reads the offensive formations coming down the court. His presence and shot-blocking ability push a lot of the plays outside the key.

As long as Bogut can stay away from being called for fouls regarding illegal screens, he should be available for the crucial situations in key games. The Warriors are in the process of jumping to the elite level of the NBA, and they can’t get there without Bogut in the center.

His offensive abilities will improve as he adjusts to Iguodala and the quicker lineup. He can handle the ball, knows how to pass and puts on a highlight show with his dunks.

The slower start might put him in a darker light, but Bogut has the overall talent to solidify the move to the next plateau. Come playoff time, he will be repeating his heroics that he put on display last season.

Bogut brings more than enough to the table.

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