My blog posts haven’t exactly been coming thick and fast lately. Busy times at my real job are the main reason, as well as the usual mid-season lull I experience around All-Star Weekend. Gone are the days when the ASW used to be the caffeine-shot that rescued your waning interest in the season. Now, it’s more like a local anesthetic injected into your basketball brain. Ask yourself how you felt while watching the dunk comp and the All-Star Game? “Numb” is the word that comes to mind.
But the All-Star weekend has, thankfully, provided some worthy intrigue for Aussie NBA fans. No, Andrew Bogut did not get named as an All-Star Reserve like we all thought he deserved. Instead, we have been able to witness the Bogey Man go on a league-wide rampage destroying all cities in his path, and making a mockery of the coaches who didn’t put him on their ballot. Since being snubbed as an All-Star when the reserves were announced on January 28, the Bogometer has been red-lining at an average of 84. To put that into perspective, when I wrote the ‘Tracking the Bogometer’ post back in January, the Bogometer average over Bogut’s first 35 games (in games he played) was only 69. Here’s a graph of the full season thus far.
Who knows, maybe someone showed Drew my post from January? Since I reluctantly slammed our Aussie hero and pleaded that “I’d just love to see him dominate across four games”, he has done just that. And more. He blocked an equal career-high 6 shots to go with 18 points and 17 rebounds against the Rockets, then followed it up by smoking Bosh and the Raptors for 27 and 12. Later that week he single-handedly nearly caused a massive upset in Dallas with 32 and 9 in a one point loss, and then torched Miami in back-to-back games with a 17-15-4 followed by 22-11. After a migraine put him out of action against the Knicks (he would get revenge later), Bogut then kicked off a remarkable nine-game streak where he averaged 18.5ppg, 12.2rbg and 3.1bpg. That included a three-game streak of 5 blocks or more, and his season-best performance of 24 points, 20 rebounds and 5 blocks against the Knicks at MSG. Only fourteen players have gone 24-20-5 since 1986, and only three others – Shaq, Mutumbo and Benoit Benjamin (WTF) – have done it while shooting 80% from the field as Bogut did on that night.
That incredible streak has seen Bogut’s season numbers rise to 16.2ppg, 10.5rpg (10th in the league) and 2.3bpg – which puts him second in the league in blocks behind Dwight Howard. So not only did Bogut shit all over the coach’s All-Star ballots, he turned himself into one of the league’s legitimate interior defensive forces. All of a sudden those “Bogut is soft” criticisms are fading into the distance. All of a sudden, the big Aussie is getting the recognition he deserves.
- Andrew Bogut keying Bucks’ resurgence (The Scores Report)
- The Milwaukee Bucks: Building Around Andrew Bogut With an Eye on 2011 (Bleacher Report)
- Andrew Bogut is entering the top tier (Pro Basketball Talk)
- Bogut stars again for Bucks in NBA (Sydney Morning Herald)
- Bogut steps up as Bucks fight for playoffs (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)
The true measure of Bogut’s impact, is of course the team success the Bucks have been enjoying lately. Maybe aside from Dallas, they are the in-form team of the league right now. Their winning streak of six includes four impressive road wins, and they’re now happily sitting 7th in the East, only 1.5 games behind 5th spot. My expectations were always that the Bucks should be challenging for those final two spots in the conference. Now, I see no reason they can’t contend for that 5th spot. The big reason for that shift? Look no further than #6.