There will be a couple of old friends back in the building Wednesday night at the Oracle Arena as Harrison Barnes, Andrew Bogut and the Dallas Mavericks visit the Golden State Warriors.
“I think it will definitely be bittersweet,” Draymond Green said during his weekly appearance on the Damon Bruce Show on 95.7 The Game. “Those are guys who we won a championship with [and] who we spent multiple years with that you build a relationship with.”
The pair of ex-Dubs will likely both receive standing ovations from the home crowd and tribute videos on the big board that hangs above center court. But no one is pining for the return of Barnes — even if he is off to a flying start with the Mavericks after dropping a career high 34 points on Sunday.
It’s Bogut, who the Warriors traded to Dallas to clear payroll for Barnes’ replacement — Kevin Durant — who the team is missing. Zaza Pachulia, the new center, has endured a forgettable start to his tenure with the Warriors.
“It’s a different type of defense,” Green explained after the Warriors’ 116-106 win over the New Orleans Pelicans on Monday. “I think when Bogut’s behind you at the rim you can always depend [on him] and know that he’s there for a block because he’s such a great rim protector.”
Pachulia is no match for Bogut when it comes to interior presence or his knack for springing the offense with his famous moving screens. The Pelicans exposed Pachulia as such a liability that head coach Steve Kerr could only leave him on the floor for 11 minutes.
“Zaza is more of a position defender,” Green said. “So, maybe he’s not quite the rim protector in a way that Bogut is, but yet he’s always in the right position. But that takes some adjusting too as well because Bogut can just erase stuff at the rim just as good as anybody in the league — if not the best.”
Pachulia deserves time to adapt to his new surroundings. After last summer’s 3-1 collapse, the Warriors know better than anybody that it’s all about peaking in the playoffs — not the opening weeks of November.
But each time Pachulia has an ugly night — and a matchup with Bogut has the potential of turning into just that — the door opens wider and wider for second-year surprise Kevon Looney.