This is my first FanPost for Brew Hoops. I've been writing my own blog with blogspot address, but I thought I'd share some of my thoughts with you guys since you all know what you are talking about. Enjoy. Go Bucks.
There is a scene between Russell Crowe and Paul Giamati in the boxing biopic Cinderella Man where after spending quite sometime away from the sport Crowe's character, James Braddock, dominates his opponent in his first match back as a professional. Braddock had lost all steam in the heavyweight rankings relying heavily on a right hand that, through a large portion on his fighting, was fractured and virtually useless. Giamati, Braddock's manager who had berated him for his reliance on his right, is amazed at his fighter's return to the ring and, after the fight, continually asks Braddock where it all came from.
I don't know. When my hand was broke...I had to work down on the docks and I had to use my left.
Last season Bucks fans hardly saw Bogut moving to his right.
He couldn't even extend his arm fully on free throws and shot his lowest career percentages from the the field and the line with .495 and .442, respectively. He has been very open in the press about his lack of confidence last season and how the lockout was a blessing in disguise for his recovery. Many have wondered how, if at all, Bogut would be able to recover from his elbow explosion. Most writers and bloggers have doubted that he will ever live up to the hype of his #1 selection. I would prefer to look at a different angle of this situation. Specifically a few quick bits of info from last season.
- Bogut played 35 mpg in 65 games using only his offhand to average 13ppg/11rpg/2.6 bpg.
- Blocks, Rebounds and Minutes were all career highs.
- The only drastic drop off was in FT% which dropped a hefty 15%
- He accomplished all of this WITHOUT FULL STREGTH OF HIS PREDOMINANT SHOOTING ARM.
The biggest stat that jumps out] is his career high in minutes. It's no secret that Bogut has missed his fair share of games in his career, but playing through an injury in your shooting arm is near impossible. Take a second and mime a basketball shot with your arm. You will have two main points where your shot hinges, your wrist and your elbow. Elbow for extension and wrist for rotation. Obviously around the basket you don't have to concern yourself quite as much with rotation with touch not being as much as a factor (although it definitely IS a factor), but try to shoot the ball over 7 footers with 8 foot wingspans without getting extension.
Bogut, in a logical and particularly non-stubborn move, worked exceptionally hard on his left hand game last year. In fact, the vast majority of his post shots were taken with his left hand, one that he utilized at an underwhelming rate in his career up to this point. So let's go back to the Cinderella Man parallel for a moment.
Bragut (Bogut/Braddock) is on the verge of breaking out in his sport (Bogut's All-Star caliber 09-10 season/ Braddock's heavyweight career). A severely crippling injury to their dominant right arm sends them in a spiral to their worst career levels. While at their low points they work excessively with their left hands (Braddock on the docks/ Bogut on the offensively anemic 10-11 Bucks squad). At their return to full health, they both dominate their sports and become champions (Ok this has only happened in the movie...SO FAR!!)
I am not going to say that Bogut is going to develop into the best offensive big man in the game, but he now has twice the weapons that he used to. Yes, he used to use his left hand, but it was almost always in a passive deference to a defender overplaying his right side. Also, if Bogut would have average 60% from the line last season (not unreasonable considering his career average) he would have averaged closer to 13.5 ppg, the 3rd best total in his career, without the use of his predominant shooting arm.
There are a few things that we can always expect from Bogut.
- He will always look like he is whining.
- He will average 10rpg (since his 2nd season never less that 9 and never more than 11).
- He will miss almost as many free throws as he takes.
- He will buy an entire section of tickets for Bucks fans.
- He will play his guts out every night.
- He will not buck (no pun intended) management.
With all those factors considered, in addition to his increased offensive arsenal, I have no reason to not believe that Bogut will pick up right where he left off before that fall, dunking on Amare. It would be very reassuring for the Bucks to sign someone like Pryzbilla to fill the defensive presence at the 5 spot rather than relying on underweight Sanders and under-height Gooden and Brockman to set his floor time in the realm of 31-32 minutes a game, but until then he may have to pla
y more than hoped in a shortened season. So far he is averaging 14.3/10/1.25spg/1.75bpg on 43% shooting. Fairly average for his career, but the only stat that matters at the moment is the team is 3-2 in games with him and 0-4 without him. With his family issues behind him and with another day off to recover from a double dose of jet lag (to Australia and back in 7 days) before Milwaukee plays 4 in 6 days, Bogut should be as ready as ever to show that he is the 2nd best center in the Eastern Conference.
Keefe aka Charlie Buckets
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