If you don't know this by now, Andrew Bogut is one of the best interviews on the Warriors roster in the last 10 years. He periodically does blog posts for NBA.com, he shows up on local TV and National Media to speak about the Warriors and about his Aussie National team. He is honest, direct, and often spills some insider info about the team simply because he loves to be honest. He joined Bill Simmons' weekly podcast this week (SoundCloud link here and some love to UnRec'able for his FanShot earlier). Simmons lobbed some softballs at Bogut, but was able to get him to elaborate on some great points of the team, making this a must-listen for any Warriors fan.
If you don't have the hour in your life to listen to the interview (or hate podcasts), here are the highlights and takeaways that you would have enjoyed:
#1: "Everyone Gets Paid"
Bogut has no problem talking openly about player salaries and contracts, a sign that NBA players are super aware of their current contract status and how their performance affects long-term money making. This is not a new fact, but to hear him consistently break the fourth wall and expose that players play for stats so they make more money on contracts is shocking to hear.
He mentioned the idea that the Warriors, especially the young guys, realize that if they win rings, "Everyone Gets Paid". Less interest is put on each guy getting higher stats because 10-and-5 with a ring gets you as much money as 20-and-10 without a playoff berth. He pointed out how the guys realize that Harrison Barnes and Festus Ezeli will get their extensions in the offseason, and that if a roster is on the same page about that, they all understand their roles better and do less complaining. The Warriors are a super team because of their balance and unselfishness. This wouldn't happen if this concept wasn't understood.
He would go on to talk about Andre Iguodala taking his bench role, and even David Lee giving up his spot for Draymond Green. He talks about the veteran roster, and how Iguodala's acceptance of this bench role went a mile toward showing the rest of the roster the proper way to act. Again, nothing new but great to hear how much players notice. He mentioned getting sat for the last two games of the finals, and agreed that at times he is a bad matchup and knows his role.
#2: Bogut knows his place on the team and in the NBA
He explained his place in the NBA, in a league where big men are becoming extinct. He said the principle of the team is on movement and spacing, and his IQ is what makes the difference. He is a pass-first big man at this point, which is where we see him on the court as a fan.
He went onto validate that he has tricks to help his team. He talked about Klay Thompson and his use of the screen:
"Klay only needs an inch to get open and get his shot off. I hold my screen as long as he needs to get that space. Other players are ready to roll after they make contact from the screen, but I hold that extra second to help the shooter."
#3: Steve Kerr is a special coach, and players notice
The greatest story from the podcast was about Steve Kerr's first training camp with the team.
Kerr came in and started his team doing basic dribbling and passing drills. Like true NBA players, they first thought they were too good for the drills. Kerr argued, "If you can reduce your turnovers by 4-5 a game, you will win a title." Bogut said the players really didn't buy into the system until the New Year mark of last year's championship run, but ever since they have never looked back.
He finished the story with a great Anderson Varejao tidbit: he said Anderson was on the bench Monday night against the Hawks. He turned to Bogut and said, "You guys move the ball better than anything I've ever been part of", which makes sense based on his time in Cleveland and the players he played around. My personal take: I think AV will immediately use his IQ to help this team and fit into the system instantly. It becomes contagious, and he is a natural fit.
He said later on that this is one of the most laid-back coaching staffs he has ever played for, including Luke Walton. He noticed that coaches can befriend ownership and become the coach in the matter of weeks (shots at Lue in Cle?). He said Kerr is a hands off guy who lets the players police themselves, but when he gets pissed, you know you have done too much.
#4: The team is a traveling road show
He said the team gets huge attention on the road now, including increased security at other hotels on the road. He said it is a circus, especially with Steph Curry (side note: he said Steph became "Steph" and the MVP against the Nuggets a few years back. I think we all agree that was the moment he took the "leap").
#5: The League Recognizes the Warriors fans
Bogut said he noticed Oakland fans even before he came to the team, wondering how they could keep showing up even for losing teams. He said they have a chance to go undefeated at home this season simply because the fans are smarter than most in the league and push the players to the next level. He talked about how big it was that the title parade was in Oakland, a fact we all can agree with. It's great to know that not only do the players notice, but that other teams notice how good the fan base is here. It goes a long way in free agency, realizing how good of a place this city has become.
Other final tidbits
- Klay Thompson is known as "Big Smokey". That was presented with no comment, and the definite crown jewel of the interview.
- Players notice the criticism around the league from the media, and the title ring for his middle finger was a sign to the media to stop coming up with excuses this team can't win it all again.