The San Antonio Spurs potentially signing Andrew Bogut as its positives and negatives. Is he worth it?
The San Antonio Spurs are closing in on the 2017-18 NBA season. It starts on Wednesday, Oct. 18, with a game against the Minnesota Timberwolves. This will officially end the offseason, which the Spurs were active in.
San Antonio walked out of free agency with a handful of new players. This included Joffrey Lauvergne, who can play center and power forward. However, this was the only big man the organization signed, as Dewayne Dedmon and David Lee were let go.
Questions remain with the team’s depth at center and power forward. With the offseason seemingly over, it looks like those will remain for the upcoming season. That’s if the Spurs don’t make another move, though.
Matt Logue of The Daily Telegraph reported the Spurs having interest in center Andrew Bogut, who’s a free agent. They’re among the four organizations who desire his services. The Boston Celtics, Milwaukee Bucks, and Utah Jazz are the other teams.
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Bogut would fill a spot on the bench, as he could back up LaMarcus Aldridge and Pau Gasol, the Spurs’ projected starters at power forward and center, respectively. The days of him starting might be gone, after the leg injury he suffered in the 2016-17 regular season.
Potentially signing Bogut has its ups and downs, however, given what’s happened in his 12-year NBA career. From injuries to declining play, there are risks, but is the price reasonable, enough for the Spurs to bring him in? What other factors might contribute to this?
Let’s look at the potential pros and cons of San Antonio giving Bogut a contract:
Next: Center depth
Pro: The Spurs need the center depth
The obvious pro of this is the San Antonio Spurs need at backup center and power forward. Joffrey Lauvergne was signed in the offseason, but doesn’t project as a rim-protecting center and more of an offensive-minded big man. Lauvergne’s skill set isn’t the biggest concern, as it is with there being no one else to cover for LaMarcus Aldridge and Pau Gasol.
The next-best option is Davis Bertans, who’s known for his 3-point stroke than anything. He can be a stretch four, but the rebounding skills might not be there to grind with more physical players. That would leave the Spurs vulnerable, with just one player at center that can grab a board or two.
Rudy Gay is the other option as a stretch four, though not as ideal since he’s coming off a ruptured Achilles and is almost exclusively a small forward. He may be used in this role on occasion, but to rely on him consistently would be risky.
This is where Bogut steps in, to have players in their proper positions, while providing depth at center. Taking up about 10-15 minutes per game would be useful, taking the pressure off the aging Aldridge and Gasol’s of the team.
Con: An injury-plagued career
While there’s an obvious pro to signing Bogut, the same goes for a con: injuries.
Since Bogut’s second year in the NBA, it’s been a struggle for him to stay healthy. He missed games in every season since 2006-07, whether it was for 10-15, a significant chunk of the year, or just about the whole thing. From broken legs to arm injuries and smaller ailments, it’s always been an issue for the former No. 1 overall pick.
Well, Bogut is coming off yet another injury. He went down with a broken leg in his first game for the Cleveland Cavaliers, after signing just days earlier, in the middle of the 2016-17 regular season. The team waived him, ending a stint that lasted for one minute on the court.
Signing Bogut comes with this obvious risk. Judging by his 12-year career, he can go down in an instant and force the team that signs him to look elsewhere. It could be difficult to invest in, even with the rebound and shot-blocking presence he has.
With the San Antonio Spurs’ lack of depth at center, signing Bogut would still be risky, and could be the main reason to avoid him. Could anything else factor in?
Next: Cheap price
Pro: Likely at a cheap price
The injury woes play into the San Antonio Spurs’ favor, as well as anyone else interested in Bogut, too. No team will likely have to pay him a reasonable sum to join as a free agent.
The season-ending leg injury likely means Bogut is in for the veteran’s minimum. Since he’s a veteran of over 10 years, it would be for approximately $2.3 million, according to RealGM. Spurs players like Lauvergne and Brandon Paul received this deal, but for the four and zero years of experience figures, respectively.
It would be a surprise to see Bogut get anything higher than $2.3 million, unless the Spurs add incentives. He’s not going to make close to the double-digit salary the Milwaukee Bucks and Golden State Warriors gave him in the 2000’s and 2010’s.
This projected salary is enough to cover his experience and what he might provide San Antonio on the court. If not, it will be enough to get out of, if he suffers another season-ending injury.
The injury risk is high with Bogut, but his potential salary is not. It’s affordable for what he can provide to the team, when healthy, with about 10-15 minutes per game and the occasional rest that Gregg Popovich provides his older players.
Next: Is there anything left in the tank?
Con: Is there anything left in the tank?
Bogut’s production took a hit when he joined the Golden State Warriors in the 2012-13 season. He went from a perennial double-double player, to seeing his point total almost cut in half, while averaging more rebounds than total points.
As the years went on, Bogut continued to deal with nagging injuries and saw his production trend downward, mostly in the scoring department. The rebounds, around 8.0 per game, remained the same, but the offensive punch wasn’t there.
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With another season-ending injury, whether the Aussie can rebound from this, will be in question. It means going through another extended recovery, while preparing his body for another grueling NBA season. If it can sustain the road ahead, then he should provide the three-to-four points and five-to-six rebounds per game.
To ensure Bogut remains fresh, Popovich may need to rest him on occasion. He did this for Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili and Tony Parker so they remained fresh for the playoffs and reduced the wear and tear. Look for something similar to be done here, along with a reduced minutes-per-game mark for Bogut of around 10-15.
There’s potential for this leg injury to cause another decline in Bogut’s play. If so, and it’s not at a replacement level, then he wouldn’t be worth it.
Next: Championship experience
Pro: Championship experience
With fewer players having NBA championship experience, as teams like the Golden State Warriors and Cleveland Cavaliers dominate the league, it makes it difficult for other organizations to acquire players with previous experience in the NBA Finals. However, for the San Antonio Spurs, the opportunity is there with Bogut.
In 2015, Bogut was part of the Warriors team that won the NBA Finals, defeating the Cavaliers. He played 19 games that postseason, averaging 4.7 points, 8.1 rebounds and 1.4 blocks per game. It was enough, in a starting role, to contribute to the team’s success.
Bogut returned to the NBA Finals in 2016, albeit in a losing effort. He played 22 postseason games, though, with 4.6 points and 5.7 rebounds. It also came in reduced minutes, while the Warriors ran smaller lineups in the playoffs.
With the Spurs further moving away from the 2014 title-winning season and new players coming aboard, it’s always worth adding the veterans that found success in the postseason. Ginobili, Parker, Kawhi Leonard, Patty Mills and Danny Green are already in place, along with Pau Gasol (2009, 2010 with the Lakers), but Bogut is a more recent presence, since he was part of two of the past three championship series.
Is there enough for the Spurs to potentially sign Bogut? Would he fit as a backup center?