When the Golden State Warriors sent Monta Ellis to Milwaukee last season in exchange for Andrew Bogut, the injury-bug-bitten defensive anchor of Bucks’ units strong on that end, it was an all-too-blatant tipping of their cards. By sending arguably their most popular player since Baron Davis was dunking on Andrei Kirilenko and League Pass cult favorite Ellis away, new Warriors brain-trust decided that an entertaining, take-ball-out-of-net style of play was fun for everyone else, fun for the folks who just needed something to watch at 11:30 at night, but it ultimately wasn’t going to jive with building a playoff caliber team.
In Bogut, if he can recover from setbacks and hopefully stay on the floor, the Warriors have someone in the middle to build around. And now, with the expected signing of free agent forward Carl Landry, they continue building. Landry joins the likes of David Lee and Richard Jefferson at the forward spots, and while everyone will hopefully benefit from having Bogut behind them cleaning up messes, which is in part the point of having him, to make up for other guys’ shortcomings so they can stay on the floor and utilize strengths, Landry brings a dependably strong and solid presence. He’s not the biggest and doesn’t necessarily stand out in a crowd of NBA players, but he is a tough-minded forward — remember when he famously and gruesomely lost teeth taking a Dirk Nowitzki elbow to the mouth? — who steadily bangs away towards his averages night after night.
The Warriors want everyone to know just how serious they are about changing the recklessly one-sided and fledging turnstile basketball culture that still clings to the franchise, in the public, at least, to this day. Bogut was the major turning point, and with any luck on the injury front, he’ll be the major factor, too. Either way, a player like Landry brings consistency on the frontline and another reassurance that Golden State is committed to playing a different game.
Griffin Gotta contributes to The Hoop Doctors and is a co-managing editor of Straight Outta Vancouver on SB Nation. The story arcs and infinite weirdness of the NBA are addictions he deals with every day. Email him at griffingotta at gmail dot com.