No defense...no rebounding...no bench production...no fan support...no problem for the Bucks! In front of a sparse Tuesday night crowd at the Bradley Center, the Bucks rode their starters to another win over a sub-.500 team, the Seattle Supersonics, 94-93.
But the victory didn't impress Charley Rosen of Foxsports.com. He sees the Bucks as a team of limited talent heading nowhere
.Bogut a bust?
He was particularly hard on Andrew Bogut. He believes Bogut lacks the athleticism and skill to compete at the center position. He points out, rightly, that Bogut can't really guard anyone (someone named Johan Petro absolutely schooled him in limited duty last night). He never blocks shots, and he gets many of his own shots blocked. And he isn't as great a rebounder as I once believed. As Rosen points out, and Bucks fans will have noticed, most of the rebounds he gets fall right into his lap.
Folks, I know Rosen can be a bit of a know-it-all a**hole, but, on this score, I think he may be on to something. It may be time for us to consider the possibility that Andrew Bogut may never get better than he is right now. And right now he's decidedly below average.
It pains me to admit that. But its true. He plays in cement shoes. How is that ever going to change? I don't think it will. Thus, he may be headed to the historical purgatory occupied by the likes of Pervis Ellison, Joe Barry Carroll, Joe Smith, and our own former Milwaukee Buck Kent Benson... decent players who could never justify their status as number one overall picks.Comparing Bogut to Benson: Benson Wins!
Let's compare Bogut with Kent Benson. First of all, if you look closely at the numbers, Benson wasn't a terrible player. Let's debunk that myth. He had a decent touch on his shot and he grabbed his share of rebounds. He just lacked the physicality to bang in the middle, and he lacked the quickness to play on the perimeter. But he wasn't a bust. He just wasn't a number one pick. And, more importantly in Milwaukee, he was no Kareem. Not even close. So you could say he was simply a victim of historical circumstance. He never really had a chance.
And Bogut seems headed for the same fate. At the same point in their respective careers, Bogut isn't close to being as productive as Benson. Benson's Eff48 from his second season (30.57) is much better than Bogut's has been thus far (22.03). In fact, in his career thus far, Bogut has yet to have even a single month of production that equalled Benson's career average (25.66)
.History suggests he won't improve very much
But can't Bogut improve, you ask? That's what I used to hang my hat on, too. But a look at some comparable centers from the recent past reveals that the numbers they produce in their second season are generally eerily similar to the numbers they will produce for their career. At least, they don't go from the low 20's (where Bogut lingers) to the superstar 30s.
That said, here is my sampling of numbers produced by current and postcurrent centers, placed in completely random order, for your consideration (The player's Second Season Eff48 is listed first and followed by his Career Eff48 in parenthesis
)Joe Barry Carroll
Basically, as you can see, where a player is in his second season of extensive playing time is where he is going to be for his career. If there is any movement in the numbers, its usually downward, otherwise its uncanny how stable a player's Eff48 scores remain throughout his career. Thus, what Bogut is putting up now is, in all probablility, about what we can expect.
Trust me, I searched high and low for counterexamples to disprove this thesis, but found little. The only similar player whose career has had any persuasive countervalue at all is Ilgauskas. But even his example isn't really dramatic enough to make me move away from my general conclusion.
There was one player, however, who, initially provided me with some hope. Marcus Camby. He went from essentially producing, in his second season, at the level Bogut is producing now, to his current above average production level (31.80).
But the Camby example is probably an aberration. Early in his career, Camby was a power forward. As soon as Patrick Ewing left, he moved to center. When he did so, his rebounding improved markedly. In the center position, he was able to use his athleticism to outmanuever other centers. For Bogut, the opposite has been true. Since moving to center, he has become a worse rebounder. When he played power forward, he would let his opponent drift outside, as a lot of power forwards like to do, and would then gather in uncontested rebounds. This year, he has had to fight for those rebounds, to his detriment. So, the Camby case probably is not analagous.
I hope I'm wrong. In fact, if events prove me wrong, I will happily eat this whole posting. But history says I probably won't have to.#: Jermaine O'Neal and Darryl Dawkins both came straight out of high school, so I considered their second season to be the second season in which they averaged substantial minutes of playing time.