How Andrew Bogut Fits With Warriors; Biggest Challengers in East, West

Editor's note: Kerith Burke, NBC Sports Bay Area's Warriors reporter, will take you inside the two-time defending NBA champions as only she can each Friday with the Ask Kerith Mailbag. Send her a question on Twitter and Instagram using the hashtag #askkerith


This week featured a 33-point loss to the Celtics and a major signing -- Andrew Bogut is back! He played four seasons with Golden State (2012 to 2016), so you probably remember him well.

Regarding the loss to Boston, it was interesting to see another big home defeat against a team the Warriors should have been up for. They spent the days leading up to the game talking about how the Celtics have their respect as a tough opponent. It's worrisome to hear Steve Kerr say his players weren't ready to compete.

I believe the Warriors have a switch to flip, but good habits don't materialize out of thin air. It reminds me of driving a stick-shift car: You can't go from first gear to fifth gear without the steps in the middle. You have to do certain things before you reach full speed.

The Warriors still feel like the team to beat, despite some blips. As Draymond Green put it this week, "If we compete, can't nobody can beat us ... and even sometimes when we don't compete, people still can't beat us." There's nothing wrong with their confidence.

Game On!

@iyaayas1991 how do dubs plan to use Bogut? I'm very excited to see him back! #askKerith

Steve Kerr said at practice this week that Bogut's usage is still to be determined. Although Bogut recently wrapped up an MVP season in Australia's NBL, he'll have to readjust to the NBA. It helps that Bogut is coming back to a system he's familiar with, and reuniting with some old teammates.

I would think Bogut's usage depends on matchups. He's a 7-footer and he defends well, so he could frustrate opponents' centers better than Kevon Looney or Jordan Bell, who are undersized. It really depends on the game.

Via IG @adam_th30 How do you think the chemistry will be between Bogut and Boogie? I know from past seasons Bogut loved getting under Cousins' skin when they played.

Bogut and Boogie are teammates now. That changes everything.

But you're right that there was some bad blood. Bogut addressed that when he spoke to media Wednesday night in Australia. Here's what he said about rejoining the Warriors and Boogie:

"I'll get to the group chats in a couple of days. ... I'll probably just wait until I get there. Gotta rekindle my relationship with DeMarcus Cousins because we used to really go at it when he was in Sac. Near scuffles and holds and flagrant fouls, so I'm looking forward to having him on the same team this time."

In general, when guys are in the same locker room and share the same goal, the past quickly fades. Players also like to say that what happens on the court stays there. You can hate a guy during competition but call him a friend afterward. If there's anything simmering between Bogut and Boogie from the old days, I imagine it will quickly work itself out.

@Bballtweets3 If the Warriors decide to sign Damion Lee for the playoffs, they'll have to cut someone (assuming Bogut signing goes through). Does the prospect of a roster cut affect the vibe of a locker room? #AskKerith

I'm not sure what will happen with Lee, or who the Warriors would cut in that situation, but I can answer the vibe question. It's sad to see a teammate go.

It reminds me of the Warriors cutting Omri Casspi last season. When you get to know a guy over the course of a season, you care for him. You're in the grind together. The players understood why cutting Casspi was a business decision, so there are no hard feelings, but it was nice to see how they embraced him pregame this season when he came to town with the Grizzlies.

Whatever happens, the vibe of the locker room will be OK as the front office makes decisions for the playoffs.

Via IG @pkrjr: Do you think most of the players have close friends that aren't athletes? Or do you think they mostly surround themselves with other players or maybe former college teammates?

It's both. It's good to have friends who knew you before the money came. Players often stay true to friends who knew them in their hometowns or from their college days.

They also have friendships with other people in the NBA. Sports is a very small world. Guys played against each other in college, so a familiarity comes from that. They get to know the other people in their draft class, and they remember who was at training camp with them. It's a small, tight-knit network.

Very few people on this planet know what it's like to be a professional athlete, so it's natural to pal around with people who know what you're going through.

Via IG @kvlemmon Who do you think is the most formidable opponent for the Warriors this post-season? Western AND Eastern conferences, please!

The first answer I typed here was too nebulous: Good ball movement. Size and quickness. Scoring balance. But so many teams possess those qualities that it felt like I was saying nothing. So I deleted it.

I'm not ready to predict anything. The field is wide and packed with competition. One versus eight isn't settled yet, let alone who might be an NBA Finals opponent should the Warriors get there.

For the sake of the question, though, in the East, Milwaukee, Toronto, Philly and Boston have my attention. In the West, I'm keeping an eye on Denver, Houston, OKC, Utah, the Clippers, and Sac. Yeah ... that's a lot of teams.

Via IG craziana: Who is the clown of the team? Which Warriors lighten the mood, especially during times of high tension? Who has the best sense of humor?

Nick Young came to mind, but that was last season.

The Warriors share the comic relief because they're all good-humored guys. It helps to be good-humored when you're seeing the same faces day after day. It's close quarters.

Steph is funny, to a degree he doesn't always show in front of media. Klay is funny in a quirky way, like not a joke-teller, just who he is. Draymond is a keep-it-real kind of guy, like Andre and Shaun.

I don't know how to describe KD's humor, but if I leave him out of this conversation, people will read into it like he's not part of the team gags. That's not the case. Boogie is hilarious because he's frank about things.

The whole coaching staff has a good sense of humor, too. They rip on each other all the time. Laughter is healthy, and this team has plenty.

Via IG @audiodopeboyziso2 How do you get mentally ready for each game?

Preparedness is key. I read the game notes, I read other reporters' work, I re-listen to the interviews from practice and shootaround. I also take a quick look at the opponents' stories from the week to see who is playing well or what issues that team is dealing with.

A good part of my job is "in the moment" questions or analysis, so having a sense of the main storylines is important. From there, I can touch on trends with the coaches or players.

Being mentally ready also includes how I present myself. I try to quiet my mind and take a deep breath before it's my turn on the broadcast. It's like my vision shrinks and it's only me and the camera. I pretend the camera is someone I'm talking to on the couch.

@rj1975 Do you go back and rewatch your clips/interviews? #AskKerith

Not often, because I remember how those moments feel. I know if I nailed it or not. I'm tough on myself.

My assessment of a moment can be worse than how viewers saw it. I'll text my dad sometimes to see if a stumble in a question looked as bad to viewers as it felt to me, and he's like, "What stumble?" He didn't notice it. And my dad is honest.

Follow Kerith on Twitter @KerithBurke and on Instagram @warriorskerith, and, of course, watch her on NBC Sports Bay Area's Warriors coverage all season.

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