There is only ten days left until the 2012/13 NBA season reaches tip-off. That’s ten nerve wracking days for three elite Australian basketball players who hope to take the court on October 30th.
Whilst Patty Mills, has been on a basketball court sweating up a storm and refining his game everyday and Luke Nevill has been giving it all on a daily basis just in order to keep from being shown the door, Andrew Bogut not by choice, has been sitting back with his feet up.
Part 3 – Andrew Bogut
This week Bogut was ruled out of the Warriors’ entire pre-season as he rehabs the ankle he fractured in January. It’s been an incredibly frustrating few years for Andrew Bogut who after playing all 82 games as the 2005-06 Rookie of the Year, has played only an average of 54.3 games in the six seasons since then.
On Monday his return to the court began however as he was cleared for one on one work outs. Although it is still possible that he will be in the Warriors line-up for their opening game against cross town rivals the Sacramento Kings, it is far from likely. Mark Jackson echoed this earlier in the week stating the Warriors had already decided that rookie Festus Ezeli will take Bogut’s place in the Warriors’ line-up if he is still unavailable.
So far, Bogut has not participated in any full contact scrimmage with the team during training camp, nor has he played in any of the preseason games. “With Andrew, we’re still a ways away and we’ll continue to rehab him and get him to the point where we can get him on the floor” said Jackson.
“The most important plan is to make sure he’s healthy so we’re not going to do anything to set him back. So, we’ll see how it goes.”
Bogut has been chomping at the bit to return to the court ever since he opted for surgery. He’s had to deal with people calling him injury-prone, blaming him for Australia’s performance in the London Olympics and booing the Warriors decision to trade for him. The time to prove naysayers wrong and potentially become the first Australian All-Star ever is now closer than ever before however.
The amusing thing is that throughout all this, people still haven’t grasped the concept of just how good Andrew Bogut was before that sickening fall he where he dislocated his right elbow and broke his right hand. That season Bogut had been averaging 15.9 points, 10.3 rebounds, and 2.6 blocks per game (good enough for second in the League).He was also named to the 2009/10 All-NBA Third Team, becaming the first Australian ever to earn All-NBA honours.
But it wasn’t just a great individual season, Bogut led the Milwaukee Bucks to a 46-36 record, their best season since 2000/01 (also the Bucks second best season in 20 years). Defensively in the NBA there have been few better than Bogut statistically over the past couple of seasons. Bogut was top two in NBA Defensive rating (points allowed per 100 possessions) in 2009/10 and as he played throughout injury in 2010/11 his defensive efforts were still good enough to be ranked fourth in the leagues defensive ratings.
And then there are the things the common fan doesn’t see, it’s the whole Andrew Bogut calling out plays, chasing down guards, changing shots, sticking his butt out while boxing out, and starting the break that NBA coaches drool over.
Bogut won’t even turn 28 until September, he is still young and history has shown the NBA has a fairly selective memory. If Bogut can return to his form prior to his fall this season, there will be little doubting his upside and many praising his talent, where the focus should be.
Whether he will make the Warriors opening game or not is up in the air right now. But one thing is for sure that he is right now hungrier and more focused than ever before to be get back onto the basketball court and stay there…. and that’s a scary thing for any team visiting San Francisco this year.