Andrew Bogut is never one to mince words. The former No. 1 overall pick has led the way for a surprising Australian team in the Rio Olympics. While playing with Steph Curry and Klay Thompson in Golden State, Bogut mostly picked off the scrap heap to get his baskets. However, in these Olympics, Australia has featured Bogut as one of their offensive options, and the big man has answered the challenge.
Australia currently sits in third place — in large part due to Bogut’s rim protection, inside scoring and brilliant passing. When the Aussies faced Team USA, the outcome was expected to be similar to the 33-point thrashing they dished out to the team down under during the 2012 Olympics. Australia, however, pushed Team USA to its limits before suffering a 10-point loss Wednesday evening. The game should stand as point of confidence for the Australian program, but Bogut, an NBA champion and a member of the 73-win Warriors, is not about moral victories.
“No disrespect to the U.S., but we don’t want to go into an Olympics aiming for second, or fourth,” Bogut said. “We should go in with the mindset that we’re going to be first and they beat you, they beat you. But we’re not disrespecting anybody by saying that. We have a goal of being first. We have a goal of trying to be there in the end. What’s the point of playing otherwise? We have that mindset from the start, guys were saying let’s get a medal and we said as a group, ‘No, let’s get a gold and we’ll live with what we get after that, if we don’t get it.’ ”
Australia could possibly see Team USA again in the medal round and if they aren’t careful, the Aussie big man will come for their crown.