The Golden State Warriors weren’t satisfied with a 67-win season and an NBA championship; for an encore, they’re looking to tear up the league’s record book. And so far, so good: Led by reigning MVP Stephen Curry, the Dubs have raced out of the gates at 19-0 – the best start in NBA history – and each day, talk of breaking the 1995-96 Chicago Bulls’ 72-win mark grows louder.
If you’re wondering how the Warriors managed to avoid the fabled post-championship hangover, it’s probably because they still have plenty to prove, and no shortage of critics to silence. Andrew Bogut, who anchored Golden State’s ferocious defense and inflicted devastating screens to free up space for the world’s best shooter, acknowledged that the perceived slights – that they got lucky last season – have served as motivation.
But that’s not all the Australian-born big man had to say. As the Warriors try to push their record to 20-o tonight, Bogut sounds off on the Dubs’ record-setting start, the grumpy old men on that 72-win Bulls team and why fighting with fans on Twitter is a good thing.
The Warriors are already being compared to the 1995-96 Bulls squad that went 72-10, and I’m sure you’ve heard that Ron Harper, who played on that team, said they’d beat you guys. What do you think?
Oh, I think it’s great. They can make the comments they’re gonna make and we’ll continue to do what we do. We can’t control it – trying to figure out if a team from the Eighties could beat a team from the Nineties, or a team from the Sixties could beat a team from the Seventies. It can’t happen, so it’s pointless to discuss. I just don’t see myself in ten, 15, 20 years belittling teams just because we won a championship or, you know, we had a good record. I hope that I won’t be a grumpy old man who’s belittling all the younger guys. I don’t see myself doing that. It’s not really a focus for us.
Speaking of focus – a lot of teams have a hangover after winning a championship. Obviously, that hasn’t been the case with you guys. Why is that?
I’m not sure. We just brought back pretty much the same team and the same coaches, so there weren’t a lot of changes – I think we just flowed right into the season. We had some motivation with everyone’s comments during the offseason that we were lucky and whatnot; we have a lot of guys who are pretty proud of what we achieved and pretty pissed off at what people have said about how we achieved it. It’s just more fuel to try to get that back-to-back.
I heard you were going to get your championship ring fitted for your middle finger, but I didn’t think you’d actually do it –
Oh, I didn’t really. I just put it there [during the ceremony] as a joke. I didn’t really get it fitted for that finger. It’s not like I’m gonna wear it anyway, I’m not one of those guys who’s gonna wear it around, so it doesn’t really matter what finger it’s fitted for, to be honest. It’s just too friggin’ chunky, you know? I’m not a huge bling guy, so it’ll just be sitting in the case.
I want to ask you a question that on one in the NBA seems to have an answer for: How do you guard Stephen Curry?
How would I guard him? He’s unguardable. Look, if he gets doubled, he can make plays for other people. There’s no one way to guard Steph. I think you need to mix it up. He’s figured it out now. A lot of teams would put bigger, longer guys on him. He’s figured that out. A lot of teams would put smaller guys on him. Some guys hold and grab him and try to be physical. If you look at Steph after the game, he’s got two arms full of scratches and welts and bruises because he’s just getting absolutely mauled. We run him off a lot of screens so he’s getting bashed. He’s coming off a lot of double screens fast. Guys chasing him are always holding his shirt, or holding his arm, or grabbing him. We’re hoping he can get more calls as the MVP.
Against the Toronto Raptors, Klay Thompson threw an alley-oop to Andre Iguodala and you started doing this dance. Do you have a name for it?
Oh, it was just a spur of the moment thing. We’re just enjoying ourselves. Andre made a great play and I got a little excited – maybe a touch stupid – and I guess it kinda made it all over the Internet. I’m not really into all those memes and stuff but I heard it was pretty big news.
Yet you seem to enjoy responding to fans and critics on Twitter.
Yeah, sometimes. It depends. If someone pisses me off, it’s always fun to get back at them. It’s good to get into it with fans. A lot of people don’t realize that most of my tweets are very sarcastic, or you know, I’m usually joking a lot. But most people using the Internet can’t judge context, so a lot of stupid people get fired up and think I’m serious. Generally, 99 percent of my tweets are not serious at all. That’s just a part of it now: There are a lot of dumb people out there making a big deal out of things that aren’t serious.
That’s probably more of an American thing, to get outraged and not comprehend sarcasm.
Oh yeah. The amount of them, you can’t believe, that make comments on Facebook and Twitter. It’s absolutely hilarious. I’m the furthest from P.C. that you’ll ever find, so I like dealing with those kind of people because it just makes me laugh. You know, there’s world hunger and war and there’s people on the Internet having a cry about something that’s so stupid.
You spend a lot of time back home in Australia during the offseason, right?
Yeah, I spend a lot of time in Australia. I have an academy down there. It’s just a small little boutique academy. We have kids come through sometimes. Not big by any means, but we have a gym where they can come work out.
So when you go back and forth, do you still feel any semblance of culture shock?
No doubt. It’s completely different. People don’t realize it. Obviously, growing up in Australia and coming to America, there’s a lot of cultural differences. There’s language differences, just everyday differences. It’s my 15th year living in the U.S., and I still hear things on a daily basis that make me scratch my head. I mean, lot of people don’t know where Australia is on a world map, so I get a lot of silly questions. People are shocked when I speak English and stuff like that. So yeah, it’s pretty interesting.
So before I let you go, I have to ask: Do you have a record prediction for this team? Is that something you guys talk about?
No, we haven’t. I don’t usually do that, just because it’s not really kosher, in my opinion. But obviously we want to win every game we play. We’ll see how close we can get but we don’t really set those kind of goals.
I’m gonna take ‘we want to win every game’ to mean you’re predicting 82-0.
That’s fine. Just as long as you put “ha ha” in brackets or something so people will understand it’s a joke.