Q&A with new Warriors center Andrew Bogut (cont.)
SI.com: You don't sound thrilled with the way your injuries were handled medically. How would you characterize the treatment?
Bogut: OK. I wouldn't say great. I wouldn't say bad. The thing with NBA teams, a lot of times they just want to get you back on the floor to play, so as a player you've got to be very, very smart. There are a lot of athletes these days who take anti-inflammatory pills when they shouldn't -- they take pills like they're candy. At the end of the day, it's a trainer's job on an NBA team and team doctors to get you back on the floor. That's how they're evaluated on their performance, so a lot of times you've got to be smart with your body and know your own body.
SI.com: Are there times when you wish you would've not pushed your way back so soon?
Bogut: No. The one that hurt me, that really got to me, was playing with the elbow injury [in the 2010-11 season], because I was complaining with pain for a number of months, and it was kind of like, "Ah, you'll be fine, suck it up" type of thing, and I knew something wasn't right with the elbow. And then when I had the scope at the end of the season, they found a bunch of scar tissue and a floating bone in there. So it kind of let me sleep at night knowing that I wasn't complaining about nothing. But at the same time, it was pretty frustrating. But that's how it is. I don't know if they knew or if they didn't, but at the end of the day, they want you on the floor.
SI.com: Did you have an appetite to play in a bigger market? The Warriors obviously haven't won much, but this is a big market and the new owners want to capitalize on that. Did that matter to you at all?
Bogut: It's not a bad thing. I've had discussions and talked to people here and said, "Why isn't this a destination where free agents want to come?" Obviously, it's not the city, it's not the weather; it's the franchise. We need to get the franchise back where it needs to be, where it's a spot where they say, "Oh, OK, we've got Andrew Bogut, we've got Stephen Curry, we've got David Lee, I'm a premier 3-man [small forward] and I want to sign there." I think everybody here is trying to get it to that point.
Joe is a phenomenal owner. He knows the game very, very well. He gets criticized because he's involved with the daily operations, but hey, he paid a half-billion dollars for the team so he has every right to. And he's striving to do that, to make this a premier destination, and I think there's no excuse why it can't be in the next couple of years.
SI.com: How good can you guys be -- if healthy?
Bogut: It all depends on how we guard, first and foremost. We score a lot of points, but we've got to bring a better defensive mindset. From me being an outsider looking in these last five or six games, we've got to guard. And that's why I'm here, to protect the paint. We have to take an onus defensively that we're going to stop teams and not [just] outscore teams, but still have that free-flowing offense that we have.
So realistically, it's hard for me to say right now. Probably after a training camp with the guys we can see where we're at, but I'm excited. [Rookie guard) Klay [Thompson] is having a hell of a run. We're seeing what he can do and he's proving that he's a flat-out shooter. We need to get Steph healthy, and myself healthy. D-Lee is a 15-10, 20-10 guy every night.
SI.com: Your bosses definitely hope you can help Lee on the defensive end, and you're both good passers, so how well do you think it could work?
Bogut: I think we will mesh well, because D-Lee is starting to shoot the jumper much better than he did his first couple of seasons. He can put it on the floor, he can pass. And I can do the same thing. When you have two bigs in there who want to float around the paint, it helps. I haven't played with a 4-man in four or five years who bangs in there much like D-Lee. So to have a guy like that, it'll clog the paint up a little bit and won't be as open floor, but it'll definitely help us.
SI.com: How do you see the defensive end?
Bogut: A lot of times [Lee] is guarding the big man, the centers, but he's undersized. He's not a 5-man. I'll take that load off of him defensively, so he'll have his legs offensively and teams are going to have to box me out on the offensive boards and he's going to get free runs at offensive rebounds. The good thing is that we're both good passers, so I think the ball will move very well. We're not selfish guys and we want to win.
SI.com: Curry was over here joking that you guys are the "Ankle Brothers." I don't think we'll be seeing posters promoting that, but you guys unfortunately have that in common. There's a lot riding on those two ankles.
Bogut: Yeah, there is. But there's a lot of pressure on everybody, and that's why I don't feel the pressure all on me. I think everybody has it -- coach [Mark Jackson] included. It's going to be his second year. Steph needs to bounce back from the injury. I need to bounce back from the injury. D-Lee needs to put those numbers up on a winning team. Klay is going to be going into his second year so he'll have pressure on him. RJ [Richard Jefferson] wants to win as a veteran. In between all that, I think we'll have a pretty good team.
There are a lot of guys who need to respond to critics, myself included, and I think that's a good challenge to have. When we get in training camp, I think one thing I'll probably do is say, "This is what's said about everybody from around the league, about each one of you guys." Generally, teams come in here thinking it's going to be a fun, free-flowing game, and we've got to change that. People need to come in here to Oracle, with this crowd that we have, and know that it's going to be a fight. You're not going to walk out of here with an easy win.
SI.com: Early impressions of living here?
Bogut: It's great. Yesterday, I tweeted about the way the hills and the mountains meet the Bay. It's just a phenomenal thing to wake up to every day. People generally seem happier here. I think living near the water helps with that. Everything you want, you can find here.
I'm a big car guy, and yesterday there was a big car show that I went out to for an hour or two in Pleasanton at the showgrounds there. There's so much going on here. You're close to everything. Not that I surf, but you've got surf beaches, vineyards, wineries, mountains, can go mountain biking, can go hiking. It's phenomenal to have everything so close, and it's only one flight from Australia, which is a bonus to me.