If newly acquired center Andrew Bogut plays basketball as well as he works a room,GoldenStatewill be pretty good next season.
Before Friday’s game against visitingMilwaukee, the Warriors unveiled their prized possession. And the 7-foot, 260-pound Australian had already made himself at home.
“He’s very polished,” Warriors coach Mark Jackson said. “He’s a great guy. He’s got a sense of humor. … He’s a people guy. He felt very comfortable around the guys.”
Members of the organization, and many Warriors fans to boot, all but drooled at his size and charisma. Bogut said he was overwhelmed by the positive feedback he’s received. He said he embraces the pressure that comes with being looked upon as the franchise’s answered prayer for a big man.
“It is something I’m fine with,” Bogut said of the expectations. “But looking at our roster, we’ve got a lot of guys that can play. It’s not like I’m coming into a D-League team, where everything’s kind of aimed at me.”
Meanwhile, guard Monta Ellis was getting a lot of love as well.
Playing his first game as a Milwaukee Buck in the same arena he became an NBA star, Ellis described the feeling as weird. But as he said the day he was traded, he believes it was time for a change.
He said he won’t go out to try to prove the Warriors made a mistake, though many expect a big night for him.
“I really just want to get the win,” Ellis said. “I’m not going to try to come out here and kill the Warriors. Like I said, they were great to me. They gave me my shot. If it weren’t for them, I wouldn’t be the Monta Ellis I am today.”
Ellis got a standing ovation when he was introduced – starting and wearing No. 11. He then got a milder ovation when he went to the Warriors bench to greet his former teammates, a trip he capped by kissing his son in his usual spot behind the bench.
Ellis then knocked down his first jumper, drawing more cheers.
Bogut, his love came before the game. Person after person went up to him, telling him how excited they are to have him. Warriors co-owner Joe Lacob predicted he’ll be one of the Warrior greats.
But it all makes the process that much more frustrating for Bogut.
“I wish I could go out there and play right now,” he said, pointing to the walking boot hiding his fractured right ankle. “But in the offseason, it’s going to me make me work harder than I’ve ever worked.”