Bogut downplays injury concerns, relishes fresh start with Warriors
OAKLAND, Calif. -- His game can't do the talking just yet, what with the walking boot holding him back and all.
Andrew Bogut is still on the shelf, still in perpetual rehab, still hopeful that the injuries that have tainted his career will end at some point and that he can assume his new role as savior of a long-failing franchise. But a broken left ankle has put his Golden State debut on hold until next season -- along with casting doubt about his availability to play for Australia at the Summer Olympics -- and the tortured fans who were so incensed to see shooting guard Monta Ellis go in the March 14 trade for the 27-year-old center need help in understanding why this is such a good idea. So Bogut, who was more than happy to leave Milwaukee and all those years of misfortune behind, is doing his talking the old-fashioned way.
Time will tell if Bogut can be an actual star in a Warriors uniform, but he has been a media star of late. Hour-long segments on local radio stations, 90-minute sit-downs with the local newspaper, phone interviews whenever needed in an attempt to engage and perhaps educate the unsatisfied masses. One playoff appearance in the last 17 seasons means that the Warriors' faithful doesn't have much faith left, and Bogut is well aware that
In an interview with SI.com at the team's practice facility Monday, Bogut challenged the notion that he's injury-prone, talked about being criticized while playing hurt, explained why it was time to part ways with the Bucks and analyzed the strengths and weaknesses of his new team.
I know NBA history pretty well, so I know a lot about the [Chris] Mullin, [Tim] Hardaway era -- Run TMC with Mitch Richmond and so on. I was a kid during all that. Obviously, I didn't know the history to the point of one playoff appearance in I think it's 16 or 17 years. That was all brought to my attention. I know Monta was a fan favorite, so a lot of people were disappointed to see him go. But in this league, I know you've got to give up something to get something, so hopefully I can be that guy to help us get back to the playoffs.
My day to day is pretty simple. I do weight training four times a week. On my off days, I do core. I ride the bike about 40 minutes a day, so I'm starting to feel like Lance Armstrong. The trainers are killing me on that bike. And then I do about an hour of treatment, mobilization, soft tissue, a lot of ice. It doesn't stop there. When I go back to my room, I go eat lunch and then ice again. I usually ice another three or four times during the day. And that's basically what I'm doing all day.
It's frustrating, because I look back and say, "What could I have done differently? Nothing." There's nothing I could've done differently in the weight room over the summer, there's nothing I could've done conditioning-wise to save those two injuries. The only injury I've ever had that was due to a lack of strength in my core was the stress fracture [in his back in February 2009], but that could even be looked at as an overuse. I came from an NBA season to an Olympics to an NBA season. These aren't chronic injuries. That's the most frustrating thing. For the people on the outside looking in, they say, "Oh, he's missed this many games and he's injury-prone." That's a stigma I have. I'll deal with it. I'm not too worried about it, because I know how I play when I'm out there and all my injuries are play-hard injuries.
Obviously, [his injuries] take a toll on the franchise, too. There's no doubt about it. That's why I think it was like a civil, mutual divorce, where both parties are still friends. I've still got a lot of ties with people who work in that franchise, not only with the players and coaches, but the front office and ticket sales. I've got a lot of friends there and it definitely wasn't bitter. I think it's a sigh of fresh air for both sides.
I didn't mind [criticism], but I think at the end of the season professionally it took a toll on me. I'm supposed to be one of the franchise players, so it wouldn't have been a bad thing if they kind of had my back a little bit in that sense rather than me trying to come out and saying, "Well, my elbow is pretty screwed and I'm out here playing at 85 percent for this whole season." But in hindsight, it's one of those things that you learn from and move on from.
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.
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.
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.
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.