Bogut leading Warriors into second round
by Sam Amick, USA TODAY Sports
This wasn’t the way it was supposed to unfold.
When Andrew Bogut came to the Golden State Warriors in March of 2012, the all-or-nothing job description was that of franchise savior. He would get healthy again, dominate defensively again, and transform this flailing franchise that so badly wanted him to be their face of a new era. Or, of course, maybe he wouldn’t.
Maybe all those injuries from the Milwaukee years would turn out to be ominous signs, leading to his miserable failure and their legitimate claim that this calculated risk – even if it hadn’t panned out – was admirable because winning franchises have to be willing to roll the dice. But this? An 11th-hour revival where he changes everything at the most crucial of times and helps lead the Warriors into the second round of the playoffs for just the second time in 22 years? No one saw this coming – least of all him.
“I just never thought I’d get back close to this point that I’m playing at now,” he said.
Maybe because he was too busy thinking about the end of his career.
Through all those months that Bogut describes as “dark,” the long days of rehab from his complicated left ankle surgery in April 2012 and the short nights where the Australian couldn’t have a drink at the local pubs he had come to enjoy because it would cause swelling in the foot that is so key to his foundation, Bogut wondered where this was all going and if he’d ever be the same again. It was, in some ways, a parallel universe to the one being lived by the Lakers’ Dwight Howard, whose back surgery at the same time left ‘Superman’ playing as if he had kryptonite stashed in his jersey in his debut season in Los Angeles.
But there is no institutionalized winning when it comes to the Warriors, no championship-or-bust creed that comes with the eternal confidence that, even if someone like Howard doesn’t work out, the next great player will come along before long and good times are inevitable. Bold promises had been made by … [For more on Golden State center leading Warriors into second round, click here.]