Andrew Bogut reportedly won’t need surgery on his injured knee, but will not be available to play in either Game 6 or Game 7 of the 2016 NBA Finals.
According to ESPN’s David Aldridge, Golden State Warriors starting center Andrew Bogut will not require surgery, but will miss the rest of the NBA Finals.
In the longterm, this is fantastic news for the Warriors, as Bogut does so many of the necessary little things to contend for a championship for Golden State. He’s an elite rim protector, a fantastic passer for a seven-footer, and provides a level of toughness that allows Golden State to appropriately play their brand of high-octane finesse basketball.
That being said, losing Bogut for the rest of the NBA Finals is a tough blow for the Warriors in their quest for back-to-back NBA Championships. Once Bogut suffered his injury in Game 5, the Warriors lacked the necessary physicality to hang with the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Bogut’s season-ending injury puts immense pressure on recently suspended starting power forward Draymond Green to provide the muscle to this historic jump shooting team. Green is the vocal on-court leader of this team, but Bogut’s high IQ game in the frontcourt unlocked many interesting lineups for head coach Steve Kerr to use.
Now that Bogut is out, how will Kerr adjust in the front court? Does he start the Death Lineup of Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Harrison Barnes, Andre Iguodala, and Green one through five? Who now commands Bogut’s allotment of minutes?
For Golden State to close out the Cavaliers in either Game 6 or Game 7, backup centers Festus Ezeli and Anderson Varejao will need to ascend in a crucial time of need for Golden State. Kerr has been reluctant to play Ezeli extensive minutes. Varejao is really just a change-of-pace front court player at this stage of his NBA career.
While the news that Bogut won’t need offseason surgery is comforting for Golden State entering the 2016-17 NBA season, losing him for the rest of the NBA Finals could ultimately prove costly if Kerr’s game plan isn’t fundamentally sound in Bogut’s absence.
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