It’s no secret that our shining Aussie star of the NBA, Andrew Bogut, is having a career-best season so far. But it’s also hard to deny it’s been a very inconsistent one. The slow start to the season was unsurprising – it was, after all, a long road to recovery for Bogut after his back injury forced him to miss most of last season. Having dusted off the cob webs, AB started to get in a groove just when Brandon Jennings and the Bucks were showing the league they needed to be taken seriously. After putting together a solid seven-game span which saw the Bogometer top 70% every time, and start to make some serious All-Star noise, we heard the unfortunate news that Bogut had injured his leg.
Then a funny thing happened. The Bucks winning record dipped sharply towards the .500 mark, Brandon Jennings’ star began to fade, and everyone started to realise just how valuable Drew was for his team. He demonstrated that emphatically with a “heroic” performance against the Bulls in his return from injury – 22-15 with 4 blocks, including clutch plays in the final minute. It seemed the leg injury had not impeded his form – Bogey was back in business.
Or so we thought.
Since that heroic return, Bogut has struggled mightily to string more than three good games together. A look below at the Bogometer scores (and corresponding labels) so far this season shows that pretty clearly.
It’s uncanny just how impenetrable that three-game barrier seems for Bogut – and I should stress the Bogometer is mainly influenced by Bogut’s individual performances, and less by the game’s outcome (although this certainly does get factored in, and by the way if you’re wondering how it’s calculated, I can tell you that it’s very complex and is done in this room – that’s me on the left). Take the fact that Bogut’s best game of the season – a career-high 31 points, 18 rebound win against Indiana – came just three games before he was benched the entire second half against Charlotte, coach Skiles subjecting Michael Redd to the same fate.
But as I knew he would, Bogut bounced back and was soon eating 20-15 games for breakfast, including a block-fest (six) against Chicago (has to be his favorite team to play, right?). And what happened after the block-fest? A disappointing effort against the Lakers where Bynum schooled him, Bogut salvaging some respect by still grabbing 11 rebounds.
As I’ve said before, I know I probably sugarcoat Bogut’s efforts some times, but I’ll call a spade a spade. His best is certainly All-Star worthy. His worst, this season, has been pretty woeful. Which makes his 15.4 points per game, 9.9 rebounds per game and 1.9 blocks per game all the more remarkable – imagine what kind of numbers he’d be putting up if he just ironed out those troughs?.
That is the key for Bogut throughout the rest of the 2009-2010 campaign. Consistency. I’m loving his game so far – he’s become more aggressive and polished at the offensive end and is near-unstoppable at his best (just ask the Celtics who are a very good defensive team, and were completely shredded by AB). At the other end he’s being the defensive enforcer that the Bucks always wanted him to be. All the while he’s maintained those big-man smarts and soft touch that were a hallmark of those early scouting reports – and it helps that he’s now got the pieces around him in Milwaukee to showcase that (although he’ll have to do without Redd for the rest of the season). He’s proved, repeatedly this season, that he can dominate across four quarters.
I’d just love to see him dominate across four games.