Posted Oct 5, 2012 9:49 AM
OAKLAND -- Andrew Bogut is recovering from ankle surgery on schedule. Progress reports from doctors have all been positive. He hopes to be cleared to join full-contact work within a couple weeks, and chances are good he will be in the Golden State lineup opening night. That's the medical update.
He also said he is preparing to fight some teammates. At the very least, he's after some heated, up-close-and-personal time just to make sure they hear him clearly. That's the most important update.
Bogut will return from a fractured left ankle that he suffered Jan. 25 while still a member of the Bucks, no matter how many want to portray him as an Australian Greg Oden or Yao Ming. When he does, his biggest impact won't be measured in individual statistics. The rebounding numbers will be telling -- the Warriors desperately need help there -- and the contributions on offense will be important. Bogut remains a skilled passer with a nice shooting touch.
Still, simply getting back on the court can't be his only goal. If Bogut plays 75 games at a decent level, the trade that brought him to Golden State has pancaked. The Warriors need standout play at center, because a truly impactful Bogut makes power forward David Lee better, because Bogut can set up the several scoring wings for baskets and, most of all, because Bogut can be the force in the middle on defense. A lot needs to spin off him. Solid will not cut it.
Bogut also has to bring that attitude that he talks about.
"If I can influence other people to step up their up games defensively, that'll be mission accomplished for me," he said. "I think I need to bring the same tenacity and the same defensive mindset I had in Milwaukee, but make it rub off on David Lee and Brandon Rush and Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson, that we need to get stops to win games. I think that's more my goal than it is to actually go out there and block five shots a game. I think if we can get everyone on the same page defensively and hold guys accountable -- which guys probably weren't held accountable the last few seasons defensively -- I think we'll be better."
Holding each other accountable. Being prepared to get in a teammate's face. Now we're getting somewhere.
"If there's not one fight in practice during the season -- you never want to fight just to fight -- but if there's not one little scuffle or one little verbal, something's wrong. Guys aren't competing, guys aren't there for the right reason, guys are just punching the clock," he said. "I guarantee you if you interview the Lakers and the Celtics with Paul Pierce and Garnett, there's scuffles at practice, there's physicality, elbows thrown. You have to go through that when the time is right. If something needs to be said and someone doesn't like it, you've got to go out and say, 'Hey, that's part of being the leader.' This team won 20-something games last season . Things have to change.
"A responsibility of mine is making sure that we're staying on top of each other, staying focused. If I miss a box out or if I miss a help D and David Lee comes after me, I want that. If I don't get it then I'm going to be asking questions why. If they don't tell me I made a mistake that was blatant, that we've been drilling every day for the last 200 days or 100 days, and none of the leaders or none of the people on the team have come up to me and said, 'What the hell are you doing?' something's wrong. I expect that from them. They should expect the same."
Bogut should be physically ready to play soon. He already is in some ways.
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