Through the first four games of this NBA season, the Dubs have had their star center Andrew Bogut on a time limit, typically allowing him no more than 20 minutes on the floor per game.
Obviously, the Warriors are trying to keep their big man as fresh and healthy as possible as he gets his game legs back under him. You could see him coming up winded after running the floor for a few minutes at a time because he just didn't get a chance to do much conditioning throughout the summer. They're still taking it easy on that repaired left ankle, but right now, Bogut's ankle seems to be holding up just fine, but his conditioning is keeping him from staying on the floor more than 5 minutes at a time. The difference in the team's play with Bogut on the floor and him on the bench is night and day. Look no further than Monday night's tilt in Sacramento where DeMarcus Cousins just had his way with the Warriors front line when the big Aussie was catching his breath. Not to take anything away from Festus Ezieli, cause he's done more than I was anticipating in his first four games as a pro, and he looks like he's going to develop into a fine caddy for Bogut, but I just hope we start to see Bogut's minutes hike up over the next few weeks. I know the plan was to keep him on a 20-25 minute limit through the first month, but with the way he's played, that may increase sooner than later.
As per the other Warrior nursing his surgically repaired ankle, Stephen Curry has showed absolutely no ill-effects in terms of getting up and down the floor. His shooting stroke has been a bit hit or miss this first week, but at least he's playing with confidence and looks like the quick and spry Curry we all remember from his rookie season. Other than Curry and Bogut, the Warrior I've been keeping a close eye on is rookie Harrison Barnes. With Brandon Rush now down for the season with his torn knee ligament, it makes Barnes that much more crucial to the team this season, and I really liked what I saw out of him vs. Sac on Monday. He didn't hit all his shots and didn't have a great night offensively, but I finally saw some of those attributes that made him such a dominant force at UNC. He's got the breakaway speed of a point guard on the fast break and he has no trouble attacking the rim, which was a knock on him coming in. It's only a matter of time before his shot starts to fall with more consistency, and that's going to open up his penetration game. I like Richard Jefferson off the bench and all, and don't mind using the 3-guard lineup with Curry, Jack and Thompson from time to time, but Barnes needs to be getting 25+ minutes a night!
Note: Again, due to the Giants World Series run and all the time we spent covering that for various sources, we didn't get a chance to do our annual NBA Preview here at WRD. I know the season is well underway, but we still had some awards and playoff predictions we wanted to get out there and will do so in our next post!