Bogut, The Easy To Forget About (But Pretty Good) Big Man

Nick Young did me a favor last night. The rook helped me focus my attention on a player that I often forget about when he drove down the lane in the second quarter, cocked back the ball and jack-hammered a dunk over Milwaukee Bucks center Andrew Bogut.

Bogut was on the receiving end of one of the nastiest dunks of the season, but the fact that he would even contest the shot - and later stuffed Young on another dunk attempt - told me a lot about far the No. 1 overall pick in the 2005 draft has come and how he continues to grow.


Thanks, mate. This will put me on SportsCenter and YouTube, have people talking about me instead of Chris Paul and Deron Williams all the time. (Photo by Ned Dishman/NBAE via Getty Images)

After the game, I asked Bogut about being in Young's second poster - the dunk over LeBron James should be on some kid's wall next year - and Bogut's answer told me even more about him. "I'm trying to be a bit more of a shot blocker this year," Bogut said with a shrug. "And if you're going to be a shot blocker, you're going to get dunked on."

Bogut has more blocks this season (109) than in his first two seasons combined (103) and ranks 11th in the NBA in blocks per game (1.7). It's just another facet of the game where Bogut continues to improve. He's scoring more points (13.5) and grabbing more rebounds (9.2) this season as well.

When folks talk about the future of the center position with Shaquille O'Neal no longer a dominant force, Bogut's name is rarely brought up. He plays for a mediocre team in Milwaukee, so there rarely is a reason to even think about him. But after watching Bogut score 23 points with 12 rebounds and three blocked shots against Washington, Bogut might have to be included in the discussion of the league's best young center over the next few years.

He hasn't donned a Superman cape like Dwight Howard. He didn't enter the league with the hype and hope of Greg Oden or Yao. Some might argue that Bogut isn't even the best center from his draft class named Andrew (Bynum would get a few votes). But at the very least, the 23-year-old, ambidextrous Australian should soon find himself as Howard's backup for the East in the All-Star Game.

This season, Bogut is finally getting attention for his game; not what he says (his comments about NBA players and their love of "bling bling" drew the ire of his peers, most notably the Wizards' Etan Thomas) or who he isn't (Chris Paul or Deron Williams). Milwaukee hosts the Utah Jazz tonight, and Bogut will surely hear more comments that the Bucks made the wrong choice three years ago.

"Deron and Chris are obviously the two biggest ones everyone looks at. They are probably two of the best point guards in the league, but I play a different role in Milwaukee," Bogut said. "Being the No. 1 pick, you have that scrutiny. But I'm not too worried about what people say.
"In that 2005 draft class, I think I was one of the best players at that time, coming out of college," Bogut said. "I definitely deserved to be up in the lottery by the career numbers I had in Utah. I think obviously, I wasn't able to produce 20 and 10 right away. It's definitely unrealistic given the situation I came into."


Am I a lefty or a righty? Or am I amphibious? (Photo by Ned Dishman/NBAE via Getty Images)

When Bogut joined the Bucks, the organization didn't really no how to use him. Milwaukee traded for Jamaal Magloire his rookie season, moved Bogut to power forward and his minutes fluctuated. And, with all-star Michael Redd being the focal point of the team, he rarely got touches on offense. The times he got the ball, Bogut said he was "being too much of a team player" and tried to find his teammates for open looks, rather than taking his one shots. Finally, he was told to go for his.

"If I had gone to a team like Atlanta [which had the No. 2 pick that season], maybe, where they didn't have a chance for the playoffs, it might have been a different story," Bogut said. "My development was definitely hindered my first two years in the league. At the same time, I think I'm moving along to where I need to be, to get to an all-star level. I have a lot of hard work to do to get there."

At 23-41, the Bucks are bound for another trip to the lottery this summer, but Bogut has been one of the few bright spots. He has had 10 games this season with at least 20 points and 10 rebounds - reaching the feat four times alone in the month of January. "I proved it, when the ball's coming inside, I can put up those numbers," Bogut said.

Bogut bounced back from what he called the "worst game of my career" on Tuesday at Verizon Center. He scored just one point in a blowout loss against Philadelphia on Sunday. The next day, Bogut took part in an optional practice. "He wanted to battle," Bucks Coach Larry Krystkowiak said. "He wanted to get the taste out of his mouth. I knew he wasn't going to stay down long."

Bogut scored 11 points in the fourth quarter against the Wizards, giving the Bucks a brief lead, but he couldn't keep them from losing for the fifth time in six games, 105-97.


Take that, mate. This is what I planned on doing the first time Nick came down the lane.(AP Photo/Tom Strattman)

Big men often develop later than perimeter players, and Krystkowiak noted that this would've been Bogut's rookie year had he stayed in college for four years. "Mentally, physically, he had a ways to go. He's going to be a great pro for a number of years and a very worthy No. 1 pick," Krystkowiak said. "He's in tune to everything. He's always on top of stuff, schemes, and wanting to talk about things and really helps us out from a staff point of view. I think he's going to be a great leader in this league once he gets a little more comfortable that he's not the new guy on the block."

Bogut was asked about being a leader on the Bucks, but said that if was difficult to assume such a role with the constant turnover since he joined the team. Many players on the Bucks are worried that the team is destined for another blowup this summer, with the future of general manager Larry Harris in question, and several observers believing that the team needs to start all over with just Bogut and Chinese rookie Yi Jianlian, who missed last night's game with a wrist injury.

"You got a new coach coming in again, probably a new GM, the way things are looking; the things you read on the internet," Bogut said. "Next year, it's going to be the same again. We are going to have to adjust to a new GM. That's the toughest part. No matter how many leaders you have, when you keep shuffling things around, you have six or seven new players each year, it doesn't help the chemistry of a team."

That probably won't keep Bogut from wanting to remain with the Bucks. He is eligible for a lucrative contract extension this summer. "I would definitely like to get extended," Bogut said, "but obviously, we also want to see the direction of the franchise. I think it's stable, but you want it to be more stable."

Either way, Bogut said he wouldn't stop working to improve. "I don't think you ever want to find a comfort zone," Bogut said. "I think that's when you start to drop off."

By Michael Lee |  March 12, 2008; 10:30 AM ET
Previous: Nick the quick, the return of Tough Juice | Next: Wednesday update

Comments

Please email us to report offensive comments.



Nice game particularly by NY. Finally started finishing around the rim!

Yes, Eddie's small ball did allow the Bucks back in the game. Hell, our 15 point lead was gone minutes into the 3rd without a center. I missed the start of that qtr, but it appeared to me he started the 3rd without Haywood or Blatche? Is this correct? Bc a layup/dunkfest was the result. I believe Milwaukee started something like 11 for 12 to be begin the second half. Made no sense whatsoever!

CB back for tomorrow will be nice. Let's hope his hip is not a congenital thing!

Posted by: Rob P | March 12, 2008 11:37 AM

"Simply amazing that fans think they know how to coach better than coaches...and how to be a GM better than proven GMs. Ridiculous.

Posted by: | March 12, 2008 10:12 AM "

So when you were a child and you actually knew a situation that your parents messed up on and pointed it out to them, that AUTOMATICALLY MEANT YOU WERE ACTUALLY a BETTER parent than your parents are overall?

Yeah, I thought so... Now who's RIDICULOUS??!!

Posted by: Anonymous | March 12, 2008 11:57 AM

I enjoy bare chested men.

Posted by: Bullets70 | March 12, 2008 11:58 AM

"So when you were a child and you actually knew a situation that your parents messed up on and pointed it out to them, that AUTOMATICALLY MEANT YOU WERE ACTUALLY a BETTER parent than your parents are overall?

Yeah, I thought so... Now who's RIDICULOUS??!!"

This comment makes ABSOLUTELY NO SENSE - especially is relation to the comment it addressed.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 12, 2008 12:05 PM

Here we go again, we won last night! I don't think EJ did a bad job. Small ball is what helped put them back up in the fourth! He brought Haywood back in the game towards the end and that is what helped seal the deal. How about congratulating the Wizards on the things they did to win instead of constantly nick picking and finding fault with EVERY game win or lose. GO WIZARDS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Great game!

Posted by: | March 12, 2008 11:38 AM

So Eddie did no wrong and it was a great game b/c the Wiz allowed it to be competitive? Wow, you're a TOOL.

You obviously didn't watch the game if you think the smallball was the reason they got back into the game. DS was in there to get the lead back, but only after Blatche and subsequently Haywood came back to man the middle but of course EJ apologists will NEVER admit there are some holes in EJ's coaching.

Nobody here is saying they are a better coach or GM just by pointing out ONE or TWO things that they see can be improved upon. It's not mutually exclusive and if you think it is, then you're dead wrong - you are a TOOL.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 12, 2008 12:11 PM

"...but it appeared to me he started the 3rd without Haywood or Blatche? Is this correct? Bc a layup/dunkfest was the result. I believe Milwaukee started something like 11 for 12 to be begin the second half. Made no sense whatsoever!"

Then perhaps for once you should actually dish some blame on your boy Brendan, since he was, in fact, on the floor, at the beginning of the third quarter, during which the Bucks cut a 14 pt. deficit in half mostly by owning the Wiz on the boards and getting second chance opportunities.

Posted by: kalorama | March 12, 2008 12:14 PM

The Wiz are going to eventually pay for EJ's coaching gaffes sooner or later whether it's apparent or not. You're not going to win a championship with those coaching moves or being content being competitive beating a team that's already almost eliminated from the playoffs with more than a month left in the season!

Posted by: Anonymous | March 12, 2008 12:21 PM

"Bogut scored 11 points in the fourth quarter against the Wizards."

When he was guarded by Songila, a plyer 4 ineches shorter than he is.

Posted by: Sagaliba | March 12, 2008 12:48 PM

Funny that Mike points out how good Bogut is playing on a game where the Wizards scored 66 points in the paint. I mean, the guy got three blocks, but the Wiz were just cruising down the lane all night. I feel like he doesn't have much presence down there. He doesn't intimidate.

Posted by: RC | March 12, 2008 12:49 PM

lol

Look who's on the Daily Dime in Extreme Behavior?! NY over JCN, not just last night's game but overall 3 point shooting percentage for "rookies." Ironic...

What happened to the sharp shooter JCN? Where are those JCN more ons now?!!

Posted by: Anonymous | March 12, 2008 1:02 PM

Yo EJ! If you wanna play some REAL SMALLBALL, you should instead move Roger Mason into the starting center slot since he has more blocks this year (12) than Songaila has (11.)

That's the guy who should be controlling the paint. Now let's see Redd attack the paint! He's gonna be quaking in his boots seeing Roger waiting for him there. In either case, there'll be more excitement in the games vs the bottom dwellers of the league.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 12, 2008 1:07 PM

"This season, Bogut is finally getting attention for his game; not what he says (his comments about NBA players and their love of "bling bling" drew the ire of his peers, most notably the Wizards' Etan Thomas)."

Something somebody said upset Etan Thomas? Wow, I find that hard to believe.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 12, 2008 1:51 PM

"What happened to the sharp shooter JCN? Where are those JCN more ons now?!!"

You've got to love the irony of somebody calling others morons, and spelling it "more ons."

Posted by: Anonymous | March 12, 2008 1:54 PM

Regarding EJ's smallball:

It was -2 in the 2nd quarter, -7 in the 3rd, and +6 in the 4th. Minus 3 overall, about par for the course with EJ's smallball.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 12, 2008 1:57 PM

"Then perhaps for once you should actually dish some blame on your boy Brendan, since he was, in fact, on the floor, at the beginning of the third quarter, during which the Bucks cut a 14 pt. deficit in half mostly by owning the Wiz on the boards and getting second chance opportunities."

Posted by: kalorama | March 12, 2008 12:14 PM

Then I guess replacing BH with Dsong solved the rebounding and DEFENSIVE problem. If I'm not mistaken they even TOOK the lead after BH went out.

Basically the Wiz were just lucky that NY got hot. If not, we can chalk it up to another lose due to EJ coaching incomptence...can anybody recall what happened in the Sixers, Warriors game...and many others.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 12, 2008 2:00 PM

I agree. BH and AB played terrific on both Offense and Defense in the 2nd quarter. They are (together with CB) the future of Wizards frontline. Unless of course EJ want to play Etan (when he comes back) and DS majority minutes.

Posted by: Fortune Teller | March 12, 2008 2:20 PM

You've got to love the irony of somebody calling others morons, and spelling it "more ons."

Posted by: | March 12, 2008 01:54 PM
______________________________________

LOL , seriously laughed really hard when I read that

Posted by: Anonymous | March 12, 2008 2:25 PM

"Haywood was pulled less than 2 minutes into the 3rd quarter. The score was 58-51. In other words, Milwaukee just made a 7-to-1 run. After Haywood was off the court, Milwaukee continued to make the run and even pulled ahead by one point."

What did I imagine? That Haywood was on the floor at the beginning of the quarter? Nope. As you just said, he played the first two minutes. That's the beginning of the quarter. That they cut the lead in half while he was on the floor? Nope. It was 57-44 at the beginning of the quarter (a 13 point lead). It was 51-58 when he left (a 7 point lead). Not exactly in half, but then they don't hand out half points.

"But somehow you want to count all this run against Haywood..."

Uh ... you do know what the phrase "cut in half" means, right? You do understand that "half" and "all" don't mean the same thing, right? (I'm giving you the benefit of the doubt here.)

I never said or implied Haywood was the only reason or that they got any better when he left. But someone else stated (wrongly) that Haywood wasn't on the floor when the quarter started, in a fairly obvious and ham-handed attempt at implying (without any factual justification or cause) that Jordan's (totally imaginary) decision to not have him on the floor at the beginning was somehow responsible for the Milwaukee run. All of which was patently untrue.

The facts are what the facts are.

Posted by: kalorama | March 12, 2008 2:26 PM

"Perhaps you need to watch the game instead of just imagining things."

And perhaps you should try making a token effort to actually read what people write before attempting to respond to it. (New, scary territory, I know.) I never said or implied that Haywood was solely responsible for the run. I said they cut the lead in half while he was on the floor, which your own post clearly agrees with and confirms.

The next time you want to refute what someone says, it would probably be a good idea not to post links that actually confirm the other person's point.

Just a suggestion.

Posted by: kaalorama | March 12, 2008 2:32 PM

Then perhaps for once you should actually dish some blame on your boy Brendan, since he was, in fact, on the floor, at the beginning of the third quarter, during which the Bucks cut a 14 pt. deficit in half mostly by owning the Wiz on the boards and getting second chance opportunities."

Posted by: kalorama
-------------------------------------------
Perhaps you need to watch the game instead of just imagining things.

Haywood was pulled less than 2 minutes into the 3rd quarter. The score was 58-51. In other words, Milwaukee just made a 7-to-1 run. After Haywood was off the court, Milwaukee continued to make the run and even pulled ahead by one point.

All in all, 9 of the 15 points difference (from 14 points down to 1 point lead) Milwaukee made up was when Haywood was not even on the court. But somehow you want to count all this run against Haywood, this proves once and for all that you are biased against him.

Here is the proof:
http://www.nba.com/games/20080311/MILWAS/playbyplay.html

Posted by: Sagaliba | March 12, 2008 3:06 PM

kalorama, what game were you watching that you saw Haywood in the beginning of the 3rd quarter? He never made into the game until much later in the 3rd or 4th quarter - much later after they've already lost that halftime lead!

Posted by: Anonymous | March 12, 2008 3:14 PM

Continued from the play-by-play:

In fact, all the run kalorama mentioned was made when Songaila was on the court, and yet, he pointed his finger against Haywood (and never to his buddy Songaila). Songaila left the court when the score was tied 65-65.

Haywood re-entered the game when Milwaukee leading 69-68, and immediately made two free throws to put Wizards ahead by 1 point, and the lead for good.

Posted by: Sagaliba | March 12, 2008 3:34 PM

"You do understand that "half" and "all" don't mean the same thing, right?"

Absolutely, Milwaukee made the 7 pt (half) run when Haywood was on the court, and "all" 14 pt run when Songaila was on the court. And yet, Haywood was singled out by you. Kind of make me wonder do you know "half" is smaller than "all," or do you just know that they are "different?"

Posted by: Sagaliba | March 12, 2008 3:49 PM

"And yet, Haywood was singled out by you."

Nope. He was singled out by Rob P., who tried to claim that they went on a run because Haywood wasn't on the floor at the beginning of the quarter. That was a lie. Haywood was on the floor when they started the run and already had momentum on their side when Haywood left. I simply stated the facts, with no spin attached. I leave that to your tender mercies.

Spin away.

Posted by: kalorama | March 12, 2008 3:56 PM

leave it alone, as usual kalorama is so delusional and is always on his high horse - he can never admit to being wrong even though he is most of the time...lol there's just no point in arguing with him.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 12, 2008 4:22 PM

If I recall, Dom Mcguire came in after less than 2 mins into the quarter and replace BH because the Bucks cut the lead from 13 to 7. Question is, why BH and not DSong...is this DS a defensive stopper now? BH played a heck of a 1st half and gotten only (again!) 25 minutes. I'm thinking if he played average then I guess the good coach will just let him play around 10-15.

Posted by: Dave | March 12, 2008 4:58 PM

No problem, if you think Haywood should take the "blame" (your word) for Milwaukee's 7 pt run, then who should be "blamed" for their 14 pt run?

Surely if you think it is so important for you to comment on whom should the blame be dished for the 7-pt run, isn't it more so to asses the person responsible for the 14 pt run? Never have I seen someone who is so hung up on "half" and disregarding the "all" (or, more likely, hung-up on one particular player).

Your spin?

Posted by: Sagaliba | March 12, 2008 5:01 PM

interesting read. some real passion from bogut. still developing as a player. i am glad he brings up questions and challenges. but they are there.

by the way, story needs quick check for misspelled words.

Posted by: los bucks | March 14, 2008 11:11 PM

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 

© 2007 The Washington Post Company