As the Golden State Warriors come fresh off an impressive series against the New Orleans Pelicans in the first round of the NBA playoffs, Steph Curry and company seek to continue their march toward a championship against Zack Randolph and the Memphis Grizzlies.
Curry, the newly crowned league MVP, seems to be incapable of doing any wrong at the moment. Not only that, but his spectacular play has been buoyed by strong supporting performances from Klay Thompson, Draymond Green, Harrison Barnes, and Australian sensation Andrew Bogut.
And Bogut is a big reason (both literally and figuratively) that betting experts on Betfair are chomping at the bit to see Golden State snatch its first league championship in 40 years. As the site lists here, it’s clear that they’re confident that the Warriors will take home the title (though the Chicago Bulls are close in their listing for second place).
Although he’s no longer the major presence he once was on the score sheet, Bogut has become an essential part of the Warriors’ game. It’s happened in a more subtle and arguably more important capacity thanks to smart support play and tenacious defense that has seen him reestablish himself as one of the league’s best big men. The Australian’s unmistakable presence at the post on both ends of the floor, along with his sage screen-setting, has helped to free up the lethal offensive attack of Curry, who continues to drain threes like water and shows no signs of stopping.
Now in his tenth year with the league, Bogut has overcome a string of injury issues and transitioned into a key player for the Warriors who selflessly provides the offensive and defensive boosts the team needs. Whether it’s hustling on rebounds, controlling the game through deft ball-handling or setting some of the best screens in the NBA, Bogut has become a reliable linchpin for the team that is able to provide what the team needs when and where it needs it.
Although his season started with a scary knee-injury that had fans holding their breath—read the ESPN article and cringe—Bogut has bounced back. He seamlessly transitioned into a crucial defensive role for his team, providing much needed pressure at the rim while creating additional opportunities for the Warriors’ explosive offense. The 7-foot-tall center recorded a career-high 9 blocks during the first round. And if the injuries have been slowing him down, Bogut doesn’t seem to be showing any sign of it. Even though the 30-year-old has been averaging less than half an hour of play time per game this season, he’s made sure to make every minute count for his team.
To see evidence of Bogut’s prowess, one only needs to take notice of any of the big man’s perfectly placed screens that are essential in helping free up the deadly three-point shooting of Curry and Thompson. Curry went on to break his own record for three-pointers in the season thanks in large part to chances created by Bogut.
Bogut has developed into a highly effective role-player for the Warriors as the towering center has been playing smart defensive basketball and hushed all the haters (looking at you, Barkley) during the first-round of the playoffs as he was vital in keeping Pelicans star Anthony Davis down to a dull roar. He’ll be looking to repeat his impressive performance when he takes on Z-Bo and the Grizz in Round 2.
Toss in the fact that Bogut is shooting his best percentage from the free-throw line since he moved to Oakland, and you have a player aging like fine wine who’s value may be often overlooked but can never be overstated. The Warriors are hungry for a ring this season and with a steady string of highlight performances from Curry, Bogut, and Green it’s no small wonder why the team is the hands down favourite to take it all this year.