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LOS ANGELES - Insurance policies feel wasteful when you buy them.

And the better the policy, the more wasteful it seems.

But when something terrible happens, boy are you happy you bought one.

For the Warriors, DeMarcus Cousins tearing his left quad in Game 2 of their first-round playoff series Monday was that something terrible.

And Andrew Bogut is that insurance policy.

"This is the reason we signed him," Stephen Curry said of Bogut. "We never wanted to talk about it and want to admit of the possibility. But it was to shore up that center position in case of injury. (That's) how it has played out. We have to be ready to adjust and win basketball games."

"Andrew has been a godsend," Warriors coach Steve Kerr said.

A month ago, Bogut was playing in the Australian National Basketball League playoffs - a generally forgotten commodity in the NBA landscape. Now, he's the starting center for a Warriors team that is going for a modern record fifth straight NBA Finals berth.

While he's not a Splash Brother or a superstar like Kevin Durant, the spotlight is very much on him moving forward this postseason.

It's great that the Warriors have a plug-and-play replacement - one that won't jeopardize the team's style or rotations much - but "godsend" status Well, that will have to be earned on the court.

Because there is no insurance policy for the insurance policy.

There's every reason to believe that Bogut is up for the challenge: There was minimal adjustment coming back to a team he won a title with in 2015 and 73 games with in 2016 and he's returned to the Warriors in great shape, having overcome his own serious injuries and dropping more than 20 points back in Australia and coming off a 28-game regular season in the NBL.

But for all of Cousins' warts (the biggest being pick-and-roll defense, which is just a bit important in the NBA playoffs), he was still one of the most talented big men in the NBA; an at-times unguardable force that anchored the Warriors' second unit and gave the Warriors' already indomitable offense a third level of scoring, in the post.

The Warriors spent the last three months trying to assimilate Cousins and his skills into the fold. Heading into the playoffs, the team felt confident that they had.

And now, that system will have to accommodate a different kind of player.

Perhaps that's for the best.

Bogut is far from a dud on the offensive end - he's a skilled passer in the high post and an excellent alley-oop finisher - but he made a career out of elite defensive play.

Cousins needed offensive touches - taking them away from more efficient offensive players - while his poor defense could have landed him on the bench in this postseason. Bogut doesn't need to put up shots, and now that he's sprier, he isn't as likely to be benched the way he was in the 2015 NBA Finals, despite the fact that the NBA has only become more of a small man's league since then.

It might seem ridiculous, but I do believe this trade-off could work out well for the Warriors.

Bogut won't be carrying the full load in the wake of the Cousins' injury. The Warriors are going to give more minutes to the steady Kevon Looney moving forward - particularly with a likely second-round matchup with James Harden the Houston Rockets looming (Looney is a bonafide Harden stopper) - and Warriors coach Steve Kerr seems keen to play Draymond Green at center more often, too, despite the wear-and-tear it puts on the Golden State forward.

Jordan Bell could see minutes as well, though Kerr threw cold water on the idea of him being a regular part of the rotation before Thursday's Game 3. Perhaps in Houston.

And Damian Jones - the Warriors' original starting entering this season - isn't expected to play again his season after he tore his bicep, but Kerr hasn't ruled out a return.

But so much rides on Bogut providing quality night in, night out moving forward.

Warriors general manager Bob Myers made Bogut his top target ahead of the NBA's trade and buyout deadlines.

"He's been one of us for many years," Kerr said.

This was Myers' guy. A Warrior for life, called back in for a moment of need no one wanted to happen.

In that sense, if Bogut is merely steady, his signing was a stroke of brilliance.

And if he's anything more than that, he might just be a godsend.

Visit The Mercury News (San Jose, Calif.) at www.mercurynews.com

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