It’s been a while since I checked in on the big Aussie. The last time I spoke of the Bucks they won five of their last six games and looked to be cementing a spot in the East’s upper half. Since then they have struggled to put two straight wins together – they’ve actually gone win-loss-win for their last eleven games. How frustrating. Adding to the frustration no doubt has been Bogut’s back spasm injuries that kept him out of four games in early January, and is also keeping him out of the Buck’s current three-game road trip (in AB’s own words, “now I have an early taste of what it would feel like to be old!”). Before the injury Bogut turned in one of his best performances of the season against Timmy Robot and the Spurs – 20 points, 14 rebounds, 4 assists, 3 blocks all on 9-13 shooting from the field. Bogey always seems to raise his game when playing against Duncan – remember that buzzer-beater back in ’05?

As it is our duty to keep track of the big Aussie and his NBA travels we’ve added a Bogut Watch in our sidebar with our NBAMate patented ‘Bogometer’ to measure his recent performances. To aid you in your own Bogut Watching don’t forget his own blog, the always informative Brew Hoop, the honest men at The Bratwurst, the new-look Bucks Diary and the frequently updated Bucks Blog at JS Online.

One measure of Bogut’s solid season thus far is the number of All-Star votes he’s received. After the fourth returns the centers out East were ranked as follows:

Dwight Howard (Orl) 2,102,368
Samuel Dalembert (Phi) 257,527
Rasheed Wallace (Det) 255,950
Jermaine O’Neal (Tor) 224,583
Andrew Bogut (Mil) 198,811
Al Horford (Atl) 191,105
Brendan Haywood (Wash) 178,868
Ben Wallace (Clev) 159,132
Emeka Okafor (Char) 133,501
Zyrdrunas Ilgauskas (Cle) 122,607

On the one hand it’s disturbing to know there are 224,583 people who think Jermaine O’Neal’s 13 points and 7 rebounds per game and the Raptors awesome 16-25 record warrant him getting a vote ahead of Bogut. But on the other hand it’s refreshing to know that 198,811 people appreciate Bogut’s game. For a guy who doesn’t end up on the SportsCenter highlight reels, playing for a team who doesn’t get much love from the media, being the 5th rank center out East is a solid effort. Considering the wildly inconsistent season Sheed has had so far, Bogut should probably be 3rd on that list.

On to our All-Star Ballot then…

WESTERN CONFERENCE

Guards: Kobe Bryant and Chris Paul. T-Mac starting this All-Star game would be the biggest joke since Vince Carter starting every All-Star game he’s been in. The Sport Count summed it up best: “Tracy McGrady has received the second most guard votes in the west, strongly implying hundreds of thousands of voters haven’t watched a single game this season”. As for the reserves I’m going to go with Tony Parker and Brandon Roy, although my conscience is telling me Chauncey Billups needs to fit into the equation somewhere.

Forwards: Tim Duncan and Amare Stoudemire. Amare to me is on the same level of deserving-ness as Carmelo, who would get the spot if not for missing a few games, and if not for Chauncey’s amazing overhaul of that team making me think Melo’s importance may have been relegated. To me, Gasol has to get a jersey for putting up solid numbers on the leagues best (or second best) team, and for that Boston game alone. Dirk will be stiff to miss out here.

Centers: Yao to start because ten billion Chinese people voted for him, but Shaq should certainly get named by the coaches for his very solid start to the season. 18 points, 9 boards, 1.5 blocks and a career-best 62% FT shooting means Shaq has gone from a fat bumbling novelty to a legit All-Star, again.

EASTERN CONFERENCE

Guards: Dwyane Wade and Joe Johnson. I know, Joe is not going to start but he should. If it wasn’t for the Hawks recent little form slump it would be a bit more obvious, but right now I find it ridiculous the voters have him behind Ray Allen, Devin Harris, Luke Ridnour (WTF?!), Derrick Rose and Jose Calderon. I can understand Iverson being voted in, the guy is still an All-Star in my mind despite the Pistons looking shaky, but please coaches, put Joe Johnson in the All-Star game OR I WILL NOT WATCH IT. And why not throw in Jameer Nelson too. After I saw what he did to the Lakers I’m a bit afraid of him.

Forwards: Lebron James and Kevin Garnett. Hard to screw this up, even though 10 billion Chinese people tried. Only other lock here is Danny Granger – dude is a freak. Pierce should get named, and Bosh probably will – although he’s not the lock we all thought he would be. On another note, how often do you see the #1 team in the league have only one legit All-Star? No one else on Lebron’s team comes even close.

Centers: Dwight Howard and Andrew Bogut! OK, wishful thinking. I don’t think there’s a second center out East who legitimately deserves a spot, so the coaches will probably go with another big forward like Lewis/Turkoglu, or Bosh (if Vince gets in at forward).


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