As many Bucks fans are aware, Atlanta Hawks center Al Horford was named to the NBA East All-Star team in a vote of the East coaches. It is generally understood that this occurred because fantasy ball favorite David Lee’s Knicks can’t beat anybody and because Andrew Bogut’s ever-improving Bucks are still a few wins and maybe a whole lot else away from being taken seriously.
The Bucks don’t win enough, in other words. Or is it because Bogut has not been healthy enough in the last two seasons?
Or because Bogut’s own coach, Scott Skiles, is so critical of his center that he won’t advocate that Bogut should be an All-Star — not even to say that his center was snubbed?
Or because GM John Hammond’s mixed direction with the Bucks has undermined the success of both the team and its 25-year-old center?
Or is it because the Bucks media department didn’t seem to remember that the NBA holds an annual February event, something to do with “All-Stars” and that it might be a good idea to generate a campaign for the team’s center? The Charlotte Bobcats had a classroom or three of kids writing letters to East coaches on behalf of forward Gerald Wallace, an East reserve. The Cavaliers campaign on behalf of Mo Williams last season bordered on the ridiculous.
Or is it because so few in and around the NBA pay attention to the Milwaukee Bucks or Andrew Bogut, even when he’s scoring 32 points in wins vs. the Raptors?
So many questions, and probably too many missed games (due to injury) in the last 100 for the Bucks center. But moving to the present …
Bogut should be an All-Star. The Bucks haven’t won … yet. But they’re beginning to and have won four of six since returning from the 6-game trip West. Under Skiles and with their “young money” point guard — with Bogut increasingly in the role of offensive centerpiece — and a few young, tough, talented forwards, the Bucks are moving in the right direction. Yes, they’re still a terrible road team (5-18) until further notice, but then, the Hawks (11-11) are very beatable on the road, too.
Enuff said about the Hawks’ Horford or Lee from the Knicks or the Bulls Joakim Noah (Luol Deng is the more deserving Bull) — or any other East center other than Dwight Howard currently being touted ahead of AB. It is not as though these players (other than Howard) routinely outplay the Bucks center — in fact quite the opposite is true, as Bogut has proven in the head-to-head matchups.
And now Howard’s coach in Orlando, Stan Van Gundy, says Bogut is not only All-Star caliber but that he’s more of a true center than most of those other guys.
So it’s time now to do what I sometimes do in my spare time: spend some time on basketball-reference.com. In this exercise we’ll see how Bogut has done against his rivals in the East.
Here are Bogut’s game logs from this season (note the performances in the Knicks and the three Bulls games (Bucks are 2-1 vs. the Bulls).
Bogut’s gamelogs from last season. Note the lone Atlanta game Bogut played in, his last of the season, a Bucks win at the BC inspired off-the-bench by Bogut. AB”s 9 points, 6 rebs — plus 2 blocks and 2 steals — in 16 mins should have made a believer out of Hawks coach Mike Woodson.
Gamelogs from the 2007-08 season. Neither Horford or Bogut were as good as they are now, which calls the relevance of these games into question — but the outcome of that matchup makes for interesting fodder. The Bucks with Bogut in the lineup are 3-2 against the Hawks over the last three seasons with four to play this season.
While we’re at it, let’s take a peek at the NBA shot-blocking leader board. (Actually, the linked sheet shows all NBA categories). Bogut is 4th in blocks per game and in the top 10 in total blocks despite missing six games. He’s also on a number of rebounding stat boards and ranks 9th in Defensive rating. Note that it’s not Horford on these defensive lists with Bogues, but Horford’s teammate Josh Smith, who, like Bogut, should be going to Dallas.
The Bucks are the 9th rated defensive team in the league, a big improvement over last season when they fell out of the top 15 after Bogut’s back injury.
The case for Bogut representing the East in Dallas is strong, made stronger by recent Bucks wins against the Raptors, Sixers and the Heat. Maybe some of those wins came too late for Bogut’s All-star campaign. And maybe it’s just time to watch the highlights from Saturday and be glad the Bucks are getting in the W column.
Here’s a thing: Due to changes at the Journal Sentinel, I have to build a new home for this blog. Lucky us, the domain name Bob Boozer Jinx was still available. Imagine that. Well, it’s mine now and I’ll be migrating things over there in the coming weeks.
As you can see, we’ve been quite busy around here this week.