Golden State Warriors center Andrew Bogut has had a really tough run of it the last few years. He shattered his elbow in one of the most grotesque plays you'll see, landing from a dunk. Then he fractured his ankle, and that honestly took two full years from him. Last year he went from "supposed to be back soon" in October to "gonna be a while" to "eventually" and when he did, he wasn't the same. That made it all the more surprising when he came out in the playoffs and busted heads and backsides.
But even then, Bogut was limited and eventually wore out vs. the Spurs. Now, he's healthy for the first time in years. In an extensive Q&A with the San Jose Mercury News, the Australian big man talked about how good he's feeling, and what his goals are for the season.
-Q: I remember pretty clearly that a year ago you weren't quite looking like this or in this good of a mood… How different really is it for you from this time in camp a year ago?
-BOGUT: I'm just healthy. My body feels good. I had a chance to actually work on my game this summer and rectify some things.
I'm getting up and down the floor–doing basketball-specific conditioning.
In the preseason last season, I wasn't even allowed on the court until late October and was stuck on a treadmill the whole time.
Just healthy, man. I feel good. Hopefully I can keep pushing.
-Q: Your coach was saying you're doing things he hasn't seen you do in a while. What specifically can you do now on the court that you couldn't do last year?
-BOGUT: Just moving like I know I can. I'm moving around, going quick, and finishing in the paint, getting offensive rebounds, bringing the ball up if I have to.
I rebound off the glass and if I can't find a quick outlet I bring it up myself. They haven't seen that aspect of my game because I wasn't moving too well with it.
Just trying to run the floor. When I was in my prime, I was a very good runner as a big man and just getting cheap baskets.
-BOGUT: My goal is to play 82 games. People are saying… I've heard rumors through the media department that people are setting goals, ‘he should play this much, he should play X…'
I want to play 82 games and I want to play all the playoff games we're in, hopefully 20, 25 of those games. I'm not coming in setting a goal, ‘oh, if I play 60 that'll be great for me.' No, I want to play 82 games.
I've had a hard run with injury, everyone knows that. But these last two injuries, if you take them away from my career—take away two split-second moments out of my career, and the ‘injury-prone' label's gone.
One of them is getting a little shove in the back and coming off the rim, 10 feet high, and breaking my elbow.
And the other one is getting under-cut by Kyle Lowry after he shot a floater and falling on his ankle. Take those two split-seconds away, I've only really ever had one injury, which is a little back stress fracture.
So I don't feel like I need to come in and say, '50 games would be a good year.' I want to play 82.
The whole interview is worth a read, as he talks about not just how much healthier he is, but the way he's healthier and what he's able to do. If this bears out, and Bogut avoids re-injury, it would be absolutely huge for the Warriors. He can cover David Lee's defensive issues and in small-ball lineups provide the Warriors with a dynamic scorng force inside to build four shooters around.
It's forgotten that Bogut also has alot of offensive skill, with good touch around the basket and smart instincts. He's a willing passer. It was painful watching him try and operate in pick and roll sets in the playoffs, but if his movement is back, there's no reason the Warriors, in all honesty, can't contend for a Finals berth.