SportBogut, Kerr plot Warriors' NBA title quest
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"They get it horribly wrong."
Like a mad scientist mixing potions and conducting experiments, Golden State Warriors' coach Steve Kerr isn't been shy about trying the unexpected in his pursuit of the NBA championship glory.
"He thinks outside the box," the Warriors' Australian centre Andrew Bogut told reporters.
Bogut has been a key figure in Kerr's past experiments and will also likely be an important ingredient when the Warriors play game one of the NBA Finals against the Toronto Raptors on Thursday.
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The Warriors are seeking their fourth championship in five years, but with All-Stars Kevin Durant expected to be out of the opener with a lingering calf injury and DeMarcus Cousins slowly returning to health after tearing a quad muscle, Kerr's starting line-up is not certain.
Bogut has been in and out of the Warriors' starting squad, but with his championship experience and Toronto starting veteran centre Marc Gasol, the big Australian could run on.
Kerr has also showered praise on his younger, more mobile centres Jordan Bell and Kevon Looney.
"We have a lot of guys who have played in the championship round - Bogut, Jordan Bell, Looney," Kerr, mulling his options, said.
In 2015, when the Warriors won the first championship of their current run, Kerr made bold moves involving Bogut.
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In the second round series masterstroke against the Memphis Grizzlies, Kerr took advantage of Memphis guard and defensive specialist Tony Allen who wasn't an offensive threat.
On defence Kerr lined the 213cm tall Bogut on 193cm Allen.
Bogut, remaining close to the basket where he could protect the rim and rebound, gave Allen plenty of space and dared him to shoot while the rest of the Warriors swarmed the Grizzlies' true offensive threats.
It swayed the series, the Warriors won 4-2 and and eventually faced LeBron James' Cleveland Cavaliers for the title.
Kerr pulled off his boldest move against the Cavs when he benched Bogut.
The Cavs had taken a 2-1 lead and Kerr elevated guard/forward Andre Iguodala as a starter to create a small-ball unit dubbed the "death line-up".
The Warriors did not lose another game, winning the series and title 4-2.
"If his rotation is X-Y-Z he's not afraid to go A-B-C," Bogut said.
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"There's a lot of coaches who get in their own way a lot, whereas he will randomly put in a guy in the starting line-up who hasn't started all year."
Kerr's confidence comes from his association as a player and coach with some of the NBA's great teams.
He won four championships as a player with Michael Jordan's Chicago Bulls and one under coach Gregg Popovich at the San Antonio Spurs.
Kerr likes to hear input from his players as well.
"When you have a combination of talent and really good human beings on the roster and a good coaching staff who knows what's going on and you collaborate, it's a pretty powerful force," Kerr said.
Bogut isn't sure how many minutes he will play against Toronto.
"Whether it is one minute, no minutes or 10 minutes, I'll just play to the best of my ability and as hard as I can and be a good voice on the bench," he said.
While chatting to reporters Bogut praised Kerr's coaching in the 4-0 sweep of the Portland Trail Blazers in the Western Conference finals.
A reporter told Kerr what Bogut said.
"First of all, Boges is probably just buttering me up to get a little more game time in the finals," Kerr laughed.
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