End of a Big Man Era: Bogut Traded, Bucks Strengthen Backcourt

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by Andrew Coughlin

 

It is too bad that Andrew Bogut couldn't stay consistently healthy while playing for the Milwaukee Bucks.  Although he came back from that arm break in 2010, he really didn't look the same after that. 

Bogut looked like he was starting to benefit from having a defensive minded coach when Scott Skiles got the job in 2008-09.  That season, Bogut averaged his first double-double at 11.7 PPG and 10.3 RPG while getting 1.0 blocks a game.  The next season was Boguts finest by far as he averaged 15.9 PPG and 10.2 RPG.  He also saw his blocks per game jump to 2.5 as he anchored the middle of a defense that opposing players were afraid to drive to the basket on.

On a playoff run that surprised most people here in Milwaukee, Bogut suffered that horrific arm break on a freak accident as his momentum carried him to fast into a breakaway dunk and he landed awkwardly on his arm. 

Bogut worked his way back from that injury and although you could tell he wasn't 100% all the way back from it, his numbers didn't suffer much.  His rebounds and blocks actually went up, but the one cpart of his game you could see Bogut never really recovered from was his free throw shooting.  Never very much a strength of his since entering the league, Bogut's FT% went from .629 in 2009-10 to .442 in 2010-11.  Subsequently making his PPG fall as well from 15.9 in 2009-10 to 12.8 in 2010-11.

Bogut was a fan favorite by giving tickets away for his famed Squad 6 section and bringing a "student section" type atmosphere to the Bradley Center.  But Bogut's inability to stay on the court was ultimately his downfall because he was a solid player when he was in the game.  He played one full season.  His rookie year was the only season in which he played in all 82 games.  The other five seasons were injury plagued except maybe in 2007-08 when he played in 78 games.

The silver lining in all of this comes in three parts. 

First, GM John Hammond found someone willing to take Stephen Jackson.  Second, the Bucks actually traded Stephen Jackson.  And third, the Bucks get a solid scorer in combo guard Monta Ellis. 

Ellis should fit nicely into Skiles' offense as he can play both the PG and SG positions and he likes to score by both, shooting from the outside and by attacking th basket, which will get him to the free throw line as well.  He is a career 77.4% free throw shooter.  Pair him with PG Brandon Jennings and the Bucks now have one of the more exciting starting backcourts in the Eastern Conference.

I have a feeling Skiles will get these two guys to play well together as we saw when he would sometimes keep Luke Ridnour and Jennings in the games down the stretch in 2009-10.

 

Notes: The Bucks also aquire forwards Kwame Brown and Ekpe Udoh.  Brown figures to be done this season, but Udoh should see some playing time in a frontcourt that needs some help.  The second year player out of Baylor (6th pick overall in the 2010 draft) is averaging 5.5 PPG, 3.9 RPG and 1.7 blocks a game in just under 22 min/game.

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