OAKLAND – The Warriors signed Andrew Bogut last month as an insurance maneuver. Now, he is an absolute necessity.
Bogut's value increased immensely on Monday night, when center DeMarcus Cousins fell in the first minutes of Game 2 of his first NBA playoff game against the Clippers with a four-leg injury of such severity that He did not return, and is scheduled to undergo an MRI exam on Tuesday.
Although the Warriors know what Bogut brings, they were eager to see what Cousins, a legitimate All-Star, could produce in his first postseason as an active player.
Now, they simply hope that Boogie can play at some point during these NBA playoffs. Based on photographs of his left quadriceps, that would require a miracle.
After getting a steal with 8:33 to be played in the first quarter, Cousins took a quick break from a single man before slipping and falling and immediately grabbed the front of his left thigh. He stayed down for a few moments before getting up with help and being escorted to the locker room.
The Warriors shortly after announced that the center of 6 feet 11, 270 pounds would not return to the game.
After eight seasons of longing for the playoffs and never making an appearance, Cousins signed a one-year contract with the Warriors last summer, hoping to make the playoffs. Finally he got his wish. It lasted a total of 25 minutes, 21 before losing Game 1 on Saturday and four before leaving Game 2.
Which means that the dimensions that Boogie brings (these Warriors have never had a center with such wonderful offensive gifts) have probably disappeared before they had the chance to blossom fully as a member of this team.
Score from the post? Gone. Center as a 3-point threat? No longer. Bully ball in the paint? It is no longer an option.
This will hurt Cousins because it meant a lot to him to be part of this, and it will disappoint the Warriors because they wanted him to experience this journey.
This, however, is the reason why they signed Bogut. Just in case. Because you never know.
So the Warriors, for the foreseeable future, will look like they did before Cousins was activated on January 18. The only tangible difference is that Bogut has been added.
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Warriors coach Steve Kerr has said all along that he will deploy his centers based largely on fighting, after Cousins was the undisputed starter. Wait for Kerr to start Bogut against the traditional centers, although he will not play the 32 minutes assigned to the Cousins.
Kevon Looney will probably have a start against "smaller" big men, and Jordan Bell may get another shot, especially if the Warriors advance and face the Rockets in the second round.
Damian Jones, who opened the season as the starting center for the Warriors, tore his left chest muscle in December and is rehabilitating from surgery. He has progressed enough to play 3 on 3, but the Warriors have not issued a schedule for his return.
Without Cousins, the Warriors range from the most talented center in the league to what is likely to be a center-by-committee approach. And, even so, they will be favored to win everything.