When veteran center Andrew Bogut signed on with the Los Angeles Lakers last summer he knew that minutes would be hard to come by. Currently, he’s in the starting lineup, but that’s only due to an injury to Brook Lopez.
Prior to that, Lopez appeared sparingly, and only for a limited number of minutes. Still, Bogut understands that the value he brings to the team won’t always show up on the court.
He explained to Nick Metallinos of ESPN that he is aware of the value of his experience and uses it to help mentor the team’s young players:
“I knew there wasn’t going to be a whole lot of minutes because I was the 15th guy signed to the roster,” Bogut tells ESPN. “I’ve just been trying to mentor some of the younger guys. We’ve got a really young and inexperienced team that bring a lot of energy and talent, so just some direction is needed every now and then and being one of the elder guys, [I’m] just trying to help them in the locker room.”
Bogut also explained that even in games where he doesn’t play at all, he uses the opportunity to show the next generation how to handle being benched and stay professional:
“There’s games where I don’t play and don’t get a sniff on the court, but just being positive and kind of showing that leadership so that one day when they get benched, or when they don’t play minutes, they don’t sit there and bitch and complain,”
In an NBA that revolves around spacing and shooting, Bogut is something of a throwback. Still, his rim protection does provide some value to the Lakers’ back line, even if he is a square peg in a round hole.
For a team stocked with young players trying to find a footing in the league, however, Bogut’s mentorship is an even more important benefit. Even if he’s only a Laker for one season, his work may be felt for years through players like Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, and Kyle Kuzma.
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