The Golden State Warriors are generally recognized as a very nice, non-confrontational type of group, led by their coach and pastor Mark Jackson, who will never use a curse word to get his point across.
Apparently, that attitude does not fly with center Andrew Bogut, who went on a rant about the lack of defense played by his teammates after suffering another embarrassing defeat to the Houston Rockets on Tuesday night at home. Here’s what he had to say, from Marcus Thompson of Bay Area News Group:
“Our defense has been horse (manure). Even before I played in Toronto, I think our defense started to slip a little bit. … The last 10 games it hasn’t been great.”. “You’ve got to stop your man. I think we have a great shell, team defense. But at the end of the day, it’s you one-on-one battle with the guy you’re guarding. You can’t just keep hoping for help and funneling to help. Those all-star players like James Harden are exceptions. But I think we need to take a better onus of saying ‘I’m going to stop my man’ so we don’t have to get into help rotations. All kinds of crap happens when you start rotating. All of a sudden you’ve got bad rebound coverage and the end product is not good.”
More on the state of the Warriors by Bogut, from Tim Kawakami of Mercury News:
We’ve had a lot of slippage over the last five to 10 games, I feel personally. And we’re not there–we’re not who we think we are.
I think we thought we were maybe a little better than we were. Probably heard the comments made by someone on our team, ‘We were the hunters early on in the season. I think now we’re the hunted.’
Like I said earlier, our defense one-on-one is horrendous, 1 through 5, not just 1 or 2 guys. 1 through 5. We get beat it’s like, ‘Oh help, someone help me.’
Bogut has a point about the team’s lack of responsibility on the defensive end as of late, but here’s an issue he has yet to address: he is every bit a part of the team’s recent struggles – on both ends of the floor. To his credit, the big man did point the finger at himself for not being a better defensive anchor. The main issue, though, is that he seems to have forgotten just how little he has actually played with this group. It’s good to hold teammates accountable, but every player should look in the mirror first before pointing fingers.
Remember, Bogut has missed a majority of this season with his ankle issue – something the team has done nothing but support. The Warriors are now doing their best to adjust to him in a major way – from having to deal with the 25-minute restriction on playing time, as well as his absence on the tail end of back-to-back games. It brings a sense of inconsistency in terms of how they want to develop as a team, and at times can throw off the chemistry they already had prior to his return. Make no mistake: the Warriors are going to be much better with Bogut in the long run, but integrating him on the fly has been – and will be – an adjustment moving forward.
Given what the team has endured without him this season, and given their still-impressive overall record of 30-22 (with plenty of home games left to play), perhaps Bogut should ease up and realize that publicly throwing his teammates under the bus so quickly, given the circumstances, isn’t going to solve anything.
Inevitably, he and the rest of the Warriors – a bit banged up at the moment – will learn to play better with each other on both ends of the floor as the season winds down. What Bogut needs to understand is that it’s not going to happen overnight – the same way the Warriors understood that his ankle issue wasn’t going to be resolved overnight, without throwing him under the bus for it.
Click through for more news from around the league: