The best single stat for NBA player defensive performance is Defensive Real-Plus-Minus (DRPM). Last year, Draymond Green’s league leading rank for DRPM with a value of 5.23 was the single strongest evidence that he should have been Defensive Player of the Year. This year, Andrew Bogut ranked first in DRPM with a value of 5.45, higher than Green’s value in 2014-15. However, I have not noticed this emphasized on GSoM or elsewhere by GSW fans. Of course, this includes having seen no argument that Bogut should have been Defensive Player of the Year for 2015-16.
Bogut’s performance level on defense is not new. In 2014-15, Bogut’s DRPM of 4.97 ranked him second.
Even if it is the best, a single statistic can hardly tell the whole story of how good Bogut’s defensive performance was in 2015-16, so let’s look at some others. Although its originators, Basketball Reference, have stated it is not as reliable as overall or Offensive Box Plus-Minus, Defensive Box Plus-Minus (DBPM) is the other major attempt to control for who else is on the court. DBPM ranks Bogut second behind Cole Aldridge in 2015-16 among players who played more than a few games.
Looking on Basketball Reference, Bogut ranked 15 in total blocks and 12 in blocks per game. He is not in the top 20 players for any other of the 50 statistics on Basketball Reference’s Leaders page except for personal fouls. His paucity of appearances at the top of individual stats helps explain why his overall defensive excellence is not obvious to fans.
What I do see from GSW fans are suggestions to trade Bogut to among other things clear cap space. I believe it is highly unlikely that GSW could find a starter quality big man – in trade and certainly not in free agency – for significantly less than the $11million Bogut is owed in 2016-17. Make no mistake about it GSW needs good big men. `The Playoffs demonstrated this need, doubly so after Bogut was injured. Finally, I find it hard to imagine Kevin Durant signing with a team without a starter quality big man 6’10" or more.
GSW needs to think long and hard before any serious attempt to part with the treasure that is Andre Bogut.