LOS ANGELES – Andrew Bogut would be older and wiser when he returned to the NBA last month. It was quickly obvious that he was in very good condition. And soon, something else became obvious to the Warriors, which was totally unpredictable.
Bogut is about the same player as when he spent four years with the Warriors, from 2012 to 2016, but he's not the same man.
Bogut spent about a year getting rid of his mental and emotional baggage, eliminating some of the personal conflict that plagued the stress level and made him sometimes grumpy.
The result is an indifferent man, which Bogut insists that he is a better basketball player.
"It's huge," he said. "You see a lot of guys in our league who know they're coming off the pitch. Some guys get help, some do not. I knew that I was going through difficult times in the 11th, 12th and 13th years. Then the pressure of starting a new family also played on me. Just a lot of different things that happened to me in my life, outside the court too.
It's one thing for Bogut to recognize his previous perspectives, but another for him to explain at least vaguely his new attitude. His teammates and coaches can see it and feel it, and it's as welcome and refreshing as a cool breeze on a hot day – especially with it becoming essential after a possible end-of-season injury suffered by the Cousins DeMarcus in the second match. of the NBA playoff series in the first round against the Clippers.
Asked about Bogut's effective Thursday work against Los Angeles in Match 3 – his first playoff start since 2016 – Draymond Green has practically delivered acclaim from his teammate.
"Fuck yeah," he said with a smile, before the question could be completed. "I do not know what you're about to ask, but he looks amazing.
"Bogut has been amazing to us."
Bogut totaled eight points, 14 rebounds, five assists, one block and one flight in 25 minutes. He was a plus-24.
At one end, his smart screens created a barrier between the Clippers' defense and the Warriors shooters, especially Kevin Durant. At the other end, Bogut was providing the communication and presence necessary to quell a dangerous crime in Los Angeles.
"He hides the mistakes, lets us play," said Green.
"He sees everything and he's barking," said coach Steve Kerr. "The coaches always say to the players that in defense, you have to scream. But nobody wants to scream. You feel embarrassed. Bogut does not care. He just screams. If you watch a game and you are close to the field, you can hear it constantly. "
Bogut's signing of the veteran's minimum wage on March 6, prorated at $ 490,000, was considered a luxury, but now looks like a stroke of genius. The initial agreement – that he supported the Cousins and played perhaps 12 minutes per game, if at all – was changed by the needs.
Bogut can now expect to play between 24 and 28 minutes against most opponents. He is suddenly indispensable.
"Huge IQ understands the game, includes the chessboard," Kerr said. "He knows where the other nine guys are at all times. He was amazing to us. We are really lucky. With DeMarcus on the ground, having Bogut here was a saving grace for us. "
Ensuring that Bogut rejoins the team in this state of mind is invigorating for him and his teammates. In addition, it is delicious – which was often not the case during his first stint with Warriors.
"I just think he's really enjoying his life right now," said assistant coach Ron Adams. "I'm not saying he did not do it before, but it's a different perspective on life.
"Returning to this team has brought him great joy. The situation is different from that before, but he has fun. He has always been a good leader, but his direction is now very deep. His influence on this team is profound, especially for a guy who did not arrive with us for a long time. "[[[[RELATED: Why the Dubs do not worry about the disappointment of the fourth match]
Bogut 2.0 is something warriors would not have guessed. He is always sarcastic (mostly benevolently), but the rumor of the past has been replaced by a clearer disposition.
"Leaving this situation and returning to it, I am very grateful to have another opportunity to play with some of the world's greatest players," Bogut said. "I'm probably more grateful this time. When you are stuck in the present moment, with the pressure and the first time, I do not think I have appreciated or appreciated as much as I should have. "