The Golden State Warriors officially closed the Ellis-Curry chapter last season. Tired of mediocrity, the team made a bold move by trading Monta Ellis in return for Milwaukee’s center Andrew Bogut. While Bogut has missed most of this season, the Warriors are looking significantly better, holding the 4th seed in the West with a 10-6 record.
It was clear all along that either Curry or Ellis would have to go, as things were not working out. The Warriors decided to put their hope in the injury prone Stephen Curry, which caused some discussion amongst skeptics.
Was the team right in picking Curry over Ellis? I think so. Ellis has always been a high volume shooter and it is hard to build a team around him. While Curry has been injury prone, he is younger than Ellis and most of his injuries can be addressed to bad luck. He has been unlucky by rolling his ankles time and time again, but it is not necessarily a sign of low durability.
What is a little mind-boggling is the fact that the Warriors went out and got Andrew Bogut, who has a horrible injury record. Bogut, who only dressed for 12 games last season, has battled injuries throughout his career and underwent microfracture surgery for his ankle problem in April.
Don’t get me wrong – there is no doubt that the 1st pick of the 2005 draft is a great basketball player, he is just not durable enough. When healthy, Bogut is a great rebounder, a defensive presence and has decent playmaking ability for a center. Bogut is now out indefinitely, as he made this statement in order to silence the speculation:
“It’s enough. It takes a toll on me personally and on the organization. … It got to the point that we spoke this morning and I said, ‘Let’s make it an indefinite leave until I’m ready.’ There’s no point in throwing numbers out there.” -Andrew Bogut
Bogut has played in 4 games this season, averaging 6 points and 3.8 rebounds.
So where is this team headed? Well, at the moment, nowhere, at least not short-term. The Warriors have a lot of good pieces in Curry and Klay Thompson in the backcourt, a good young prospect in Harrison Barnes, a double-double machine in David Lee, and a very efficient contributor off the bench in Carl Landry.
These are all good pieces to build around, but unfortunately for the Warriors, it will be hard to build around them because of bad contracts. Andrew Bogut is now the highest paid player on the roster, earning $14m next year. Richard Jefferson and Andris Biedrins will earn $10m and $9m each this year, and also have contracts for next year. The team has already used its amnesty clause on Charlie Bell.
So by locking in Bogut, Warriors essentially decided to roll with this roster for the coming 2 seasons. It is highly unlikely that any team would be interested in the contracts of Jefferson and Biedrins in a trade, so the Warriors won’t have much wiggle room in the free-agency market.
Even with a partially healthy Bogut, the Warriors could very well make the playoffs this year, but the team will need its big man to get through his ailments on a more permanent basis in order to be competitive in the long run.
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