“Man, the Celtics are big in the middle,” I realized, watching Jermaine O’Neal muscle the Sixers around in the post for half of the preseason scrubfest the Celtics played in Philly tonight. The C’s have Shaq, too, ready for action while starting center Kendrick Perkins recovers from injury.
Our less-than-100-percent center, Andrew Bogut, will have his hands full when he gets back into action. The centers in Chicago and Orlando will be there too, working the paint to keep the Bucks out of the Eastern Conference top four. Given all the other problems the Miami Heat pose, Big Z has had Bogut’s number for years.
For all the offseason changes made by John Hammond, the Bucks GM left the backup center’s seat on the Bucks bench empty. New Bucks Jon Brockman and Dwight? Drew Gooden, they’re not centers. Rookie Larry Sanders, for all that wingspan the Bucks drafted — he’s a rookie. And let’s hope coach Scott Skiles has the decency to keep Ersan Ilyasova out of the center mix as he tries to find playing time for Ersan and Luc Mbah a Moute after the addition of Gooden.
In other words, as overloaded and versatile as the Bucks are at the power forward spot that has jinxed them for almost 40 years,’ they’ve got no backup center for their 25-year-old All-Pro as he works his way back from the broken arm and mangled finger that ended his 2010 season. (And no, retread Brian Skinner doesn’t cut it).
Meanwhile, Bogut has yet to play this preseason. Is it time to worry in Bucksland? Frank over at Brewhoop thinks it’s about time to fugedaboutit and get Bogut out on the court.
And while there won’t be any guarantees that Bogut can stay healthy–whether it’s related to his arm, back, knees, etc–the Bucks may not have the luxury of playing it safe for too long.
They don’t. Truth is, the Bucks have one NBA center on their roster, and their chances of moving up in the East ride with him.