There it is, in clear bold type on the basketball-reference.com website: The Warriors' Andrew Bogut has moved up to third in the league defensive ratings and Draymond Green is sixth.

You don't have to get caught up in how this stat is tabulated (it's an estimate of how many points your team gives up per 100 possessions when you're on the floor) to know that these lofty positions in the DRtg are rare for this franchise.

Very, very rare.

So rare that the last time a Warriors player finished a season in the top 20 in this category was... let me think now... hmmm.... was...

Minnesota Timberwolves’ Ricky Rubio (9) is hit on his face  by Golden State Warriors’ Andrew Bogut (12) in the second half of a NBA game at the
Minnesota Timberwolves' Ricky Rubio (9) is hit on his face by Golden State Warriors' Andrew Bogut (12) in the second half of a NBA game at the Oracle Arena in Oakland, Calif., on Friday, Jan. 25, 2014. Warriors lost 121-120. (Ray Chavez/Bay Area News Group) ( RAY CHAVEZ )

No, not Dominic McGuire (MT-2½²s good guess last night)... not Stephen Jackson (my guess)... not Corey Maggette (I kid!), not Troy Murphy or Antawn Jamison (I REALLY KID!) or even Bobby Sura or Adonal Foyle (my other guesses)...

The last time a Warriors player finished top 20 in defensive ratings was in 1988-89, when the legendary Manute Bol finished 17th in the defensive ratings.

That is a long time ago, but what a great name to come back to, however.

  • The last time a Warrior player finished in the top 5 in DRtg: When Robert Parish hit No. 1 in 1978-79.... which of course led directly to the Warriors trading the future Hall of Famer to Boston. When he was 26. For the rights to Joe Barry Carroll and Rickey Brown.


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  • And oh, the Warriors traded the rights to Kevin McHale in there, too.

    Sorry for that little tangent there, but back to the original point...

    You don't need the stats to tell you what your eye can see—the Warriors are always much, much better on defense when either Bogut or Green are on the floor this season, particularly on help defense and rotations (Bogut and Green talk a little about this issue in interview transcripts this later in this item).

    The stats just back that up.

    Golden State Warriors’ Draymond Green (23) blocks a shot by Portland Trail Blazers’ Thomas Robinson (41) in the second quarter of their game at
    Golden State Warriors' Draymond Green (23) blocks a shot by Portland Trail Blazers' Thomas Robinson (41) in the second quarter of their game at Oracle Arena in Oakland, Calif., on Sunday, Jan. 26, 2014. (Jose Carlos Fajardo/Bay Area News Group) ( JOSE CARLOS FAJARDO )

    Again, Bogut is currently third, behind Indiana's Roy Hibbert and Paul George and just ahead of Indiana's David West.

    And Green is sixth, behind Chicago's Joakim Noah and just ahead of Tim Duncan, DeAndre Jordan, Lance Stephenson and George Hill.

  • By the way, this is a very good stat, I should point out. Last season, the top five in DRtg were: Tim Duncan, Hibbert, George, Tony Allen and eventual Defensive Player of the Year Marc Gasol.

    Which got me thinking, I'm not big on All-Star berths or some other award stuff, but I do value the NBA All-Defense teams, when they're picked correctly, and I think Bogut has a shot at one of them this season.

    This is also relevant because Bogut has bonus clauses in his new deal that kick in for every season that he plays at least 65 games and also is named to the 1st or 2nd team All-Defense (among other triggers, but the All-Defense is the most likely).

    Of course, last night Bogut reminded me that his bonus pool doesn't exist until next season—the start of his new deal, when he would pick up an extra $1.4M if he hits the trigger.

    But let's play it out for this season, anyway. Where does Bogut fit in the NBA All-Defense landscape right now?

    I think and the stats say Bogut is probably running ahead of Dwight Howard (currently 19th in DRtg) and Joakim Noah for the second-team center, behind Hibbert.

    (Last season's Defensive Player of the Year Marc Gasol would obviously be a candidate but he has been hurt much of this season. Interestingly, Gasol was put on the 2nd team All-Defense by the coaches—who vote for the teams—but was DPOY in a vote of the media panel.

    (I agree with the panel. And last year the coaches voted 6 players to the first team, including two centers: Tyson Chandler and Noah.)

    Right now, if I had to put together my NBA All-Defense teams, I'd say the first team would look something like: LeBron James, Hibbert, Paul George, Kawhi Leonard and Chris Paul. If I'm allowed a sixth player like last year, I'd add either Bogut or Noah.

    That would mean the second team could be: Anthony Davis, Duncan/Serge Ibaka, Ricky Rubio, Hill and... Bogut or Noah or Howard, I think. Right now, I'd pick Bogut.

    Bogut is admittedly not a guy who counts up his stats, but here are a few: He's 7th in blocked shots per game (1.9), 5th in defensive rebound %, and 8th in defensive win shares.

    Oh, and I think I've mentioned he's 3rd in DRtg.

  • Bogut mentions his 2009-10 season in Milwaukee when he was 2nd in blocked shots per game and 2nd in DRtg and didn't make either All-Defense team. (He said he didn't even get a vote.)

    Then in 2010-11 he led the league in blocks per and was fourth in DRtg and also didn't make either All-D team.

  • They've played the best individual and help defense on the Warriors this season, but Bogut and Green rarely play together.

    Of the Warriors' 32 most frequently played two-man tandems (counting the main-rotation players), Bogut and Green have played together the fifth-fewest—they've played 152 minutes together, according to the NBA.com grid.

  • When you talk to them, what really jumps out is how much they both talk on the floor—calling out screens, barking out instructions, the whole deal.

    Bogut especially is the captain of the defense and the organizer, and you know that when he bellows, the other Warriors players listen.

    And when Bogut and Green are playing inspired defense, they really do end up guarding like 1.5 or 2 guys at a time.

    Get a healthier Andre Iguodala out there... and that's the kind of defense that can lift the Warriors even when their offense goes into an occasional lull.

  • ANDREW BOGUT gaggle snippet from last night/

    Q: You guarded Griffin a lot. Do you approach a match-up against a guy like Blake Griffin any differently?

    BOGUT: Not really. Just play defense, make him make tough shots. You know, some guys frustrated with that, some guys don't.

    Q: You like to match up against a power forward-type?

    BOGUT: Not traditionally. (Laughs.) But if they need me to guard a power forward, I guard a power forward.

    Give Blake credit, he was shooting the ball very well tonight. But I think it worked in our favor a little bit tonight because it took them out of the paint; paint points were key tonight and we dominated that side of things. That's probably a key to our win tonight.

    Q: You're fourth in defensive rating right now (up to third), based on that calculation. You pay attention to stuff like that?

    BOGUT: Not really. I don't even know what that is.

    Q: Estimated points per 100 possessions given up when you're on the floor...

    BOGUT: I know my value. My value to this team, a lot of it is outside of stats that show up on a stat sheet.

    So fantasy-wise, pick that stat-sheet up and immediately they just look at stat-sheets and immediately say you played good, or you played bad.

    But my value to this team is outside of that. It's talking on defense and being a quarterback and plugging up the lane, being physical, using fouls.

    So if people are starting to stat that, thank God.

    Q: You checked out the SportVU stats that say you give up a very low percentage of made shots near the rim?

    BOGUT: I don't need to check that out to know that, without sounding arrogant, you know?

    I know that when guys are coming to the basket, make 'em make a tough shot, or a lot of guys are starting to go up and under now, and try to change their shots.

    There's some talented guys that'll make those shots, but if I see a guy coming at me and he has an open lay-up and he has to kind of contort the ball and go up and under, my job's kind of done.

    Q: Do you think it's good that people are seeing more of that story now and defensive stats are getting better?

    BOGUT: Yeah, it's good. I mean, there's a lot of different analytics these days. You could probably write an encyclopedia on how many analytical things there are that people chart, some good, some bad.

    But like I said, sports a lot of times, people will look at certain players and think, 'Why is he starting? Why is he playing minutes?' Or vice-versa, 'Why is this guy not playing when he averages 20-whatever, whatever...'

    There's value outside of stats on a lot of teams. Generic stats on the stat-sheet—rebounds, points... I think I'm one of those guys that doesn't really care too much about my stats and just try to help a team win.

    Q: Are you looking at the All-Defense teams as a possibility for you?

    BOGUT: That'd be nice. That'd definitely be nice, I'm not going to lie. Next year would be even nicer because it's a bonus in my contract...

    Q: That's why I was asking...

    BOGUT: I thought I should've been All-Defensive in 2009-10, I led the league in blocks, I didn't even get a vote. So hopefully I can make up for that this season.

    But awards are predicated on how the team is, how the success of the team is, so if we go to the playoffs and make some noise I think all that stuff will take care of itself.

    Q: Are you playing the best defense of your career now?

    BOGUT: I think it's close, yeah. I think I had a really good year in Milwaukee when, like I said, I led the league in blocks and I was second or third in charges taken. That was a very good year for me.

    And this is a little bit of a different role because there's been more pressure on me. Guarding sometimes 4s and 5s like I mentioned earlier and guarding their best big guy. But I take that challenge.

    I think that takes a lot of pressure of guys like D-Lee and so on.

  • DRAYMOND GREEN interview snippet/

    Q: You know about the defensive rating? Before tonight's game, Bogut was ranked fourth in the NBA, you're sixth. What do you think about those stats?

    GREEN: I don't really pay attention to it, I don't even know where to find it. But any time you can be high up on the defensive rating, any type of defense, it has to be something good.

    It's something I focus on and I know Bogut's focused on it as well. It's rewarding to see things like that, but still have to keep on going and continue to get better.

    Q: It's not quite the old Warriors. You feel like there's more defensive accountability on the team now?

    GREEN: Absolutely. One thing we talk about is, 'Take your match-up personally.' Then depend on the help defense, but don't necessarily depend on the help defense and not take that match-up personally. Try to do what you can to stop a guy.

    There's definitely accountability and a level we're expected to compete at.

    Q: You don't play a lot with Bogut but when you do, what's that like on defense?

    GREEN: It's comforting, you know? Because you've got two guys who aren't afraid to hear their own voice. When he's in the back, he's always talking.

    Feels good to hear a guy behind you and know everything that's going on even when you can't see it.

    Q: What kind of stuff is he saying?

    GREEN: He's just directing the defense—screens, flares, downs, getting into the coverages we're in, calling out plays.

    It's just like a point guard directing the offense, he does that on the defensive end.