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Warriors are better off without Bogut

Warriors fans and management have always clamored for a productive big man.

Last year, the front office acquired 7-foot center Andrew Bogut — even though he was injured — in exchange for fan favorite Monta Ellis.

But now that the Warriors have their man in the middle, it seems the team plays better when he’s on the bench nursing an injury.

With Bogut in the lineup, the Warriors are 6-6. Without the big Aussie, the team is 26-17, including Friday night’s thrilling overtime victory over San Antonio.

Bogut was a good player when healthy but he has never been 100 percent with the Warriors. He missed 38 games rehabbing his surgically repaired left ankle and returned to the lineup on January 28 at Toronto.

In that game, he played 24 minutes, scored 12 points, pulled down eight rebounds, and blocked four shots. Aside from that game, he has struggled to say the least.

With Bogut on the active roster, the Warriors are obligated to get him involved and it slows down the flow and tempo of their offense.

Without Bogut, Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Harrison Barnes and Jarrett Jack are able to shine.

Curry told SFBay after the win over the Spurs that other players had to ‘man up’ in Bogut’s absence:

“You notice his size, his presence isn’t out there and you have to execute even more when he’s not out there. It kind of resembles how we played in November and December when we didn’t have him.

D-Lee stepped up, a 20 and 20 game (25 points, 22 rebounds), Carl (Landry) came in, played some great defense, great rebounding. And the guards, stepping up and trying to man up in the paint as well. It’s got to be a total team effort. You can’t rely on one guy to get it done.”

I’m a big believer in team chemistry and one guy can spark or kill that chemistry. I had my concerns that Bogut would ruin the flow Mark Jackson and the Warriors had built when he returned.

David Lee, Andris Biedrins and Festus Ezeli can handle defending opposing teams’ frontline players, while Ezeli and Biedrins don’t get in the way on the offensive end.

Without Bogut, the Warriors have defeated San Antonio, Miami, Oklahoma City, the Los Angeles Clippers (three out of four games), and Indiana. Those teams own the five of the six best records in the NBA. Only Memphis has eluded the Warriors.

Bogut is due to make $14 million next season. If I’m the Warriors general manager, I evaluate how the team has been performed in his absence and look to move him this off-season.

Then use that money to re-sign Jack, who has become the veteran leader the team has sorely needed.

In the win over the Spurs, Jack became the first NBA player off the bench to score 30 points and dish out 10 assists since Magic Johnson in 1996.

As for Bogut’s latest injury, he missed Friday night’s thrilling win over the Spurs with back spasms. SFBay reported Friday there is no timetable for his return.

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