Statistics can tell us a lot about a game: who played well, who played poorly, and which team won. But they can't tell us how these numbers came about. That's why we're going inside the box score and finding out the story behind the stats.
Today's subject: Andrew Bogut and his amazing disappearing hook shot
Our favorite #1 overall draft pick is having a somewhat puzzling start to the season. While he has (allegedly) regained mobility in his right arm, it hasn't proven to be helpful on offense. Through four games, Bogut is averaging 14.3 points/game, which is above his career averages and the lower end of the range we want him to be at. But his shooting percentages are woeful: 43.1% on field goals and 58.3% from the free throw line.
The free throw numbers are unsurprising, but the field goal rate is troubling. Bogut's offense is built around his ability to finish high-percentage opportunities near the rim. We don't need him shooting from beyond 9 feet out (no matter what Frank says!) very often. We need him to be able to use his once-effective hook shot to the fullest.
We're going to go to the tape from the first four games of 2011-12 and see what we can see with Bogut's hook.
Game 1, 1st quarter, 8:59 - Bogut makes 11-foot hook shot (assist by Brandon Jennings)
Bogut gets the ball just below the right elbow off a Jennings fake and is isolated against his defender. From the high post, Bogut takes one lateral dribble down the lane to the right block and launches up a quick right-handed shot. He wasn't completely set with his legs, but compensated for it by releasing the ball at the highest point.
Game 1, 1st quarter, 8:22 - Bogut misses hook shot
Again from the high post, but this time on the left side, Bogut receives the ball with his back to the basket. He faces up briefly, then turns back around and backs his man down, moving to the center of the lane. When Bogut pulls up his dribble and starts his shot, the defender does a good job keeping his chest/forearm against him. This keeps Bogut from putting his momentum where he wants it to go, and the ball hits the front rim and falls out.
Game 1, 3rd quarter, 10:53 - Bogut makes 6-foot hook shot
Bogut gets the ball from Stephen Jackson just outside of the left block. Isolated against his defender, Bogut faces up, then dribbles closer in. He spins baseline, and the defender overcommits, allowing Bogut to pivot back the other direction and gently make the shot.
Against the Bobcats, Bogut went 2/3 on hook shots.
Game 2, 1st quarter, 11:40 - Bogut misses hook shot
Bogut receives the ball against Darko Milicic on the left side of the lane. Bogut tries backing him down, but Darko's defense is effective, and Bogut actually loses the ball near the baseline. He recovers, though, and spins baseline to put up a left-handed shot, but the attempt is rushed and the ball hits the right side of the rim and bounces back out.
Game 2, 2nd quarter, 8:32 - Bogut makes 10-foot hook shot
Bogut gets the ball isolated on the left side of the lane, again against Darko Milicic. Bogut power-dribbles his way in, but Darko doesn't give up any space, forcing Bogut to pivot baseline to look for an opening. He doesn't find it, and he pivots back away and puts up a hook shot that hits the rim but rolls out. Bogut may have been nudged a little bit, because his momentum is falling away from the basket. Either way, his hook shot would have had a stronger chance of falling in if Bogut wasn't falling away.
Game 2, 3rd quarter, 11:30 - Bogut makes 6-foot hook shot (assist by Stephen Jackson)
After a few trips around the court, the ball ends up in the hands of Stephen Jackson on the right wing. Bogut has sealed off his defender right in the center of the lane, and Jackson whips in the pass. Michael Beasley isn't expecting the pass, giving Bogut a great opportunity. He quickly goes up with his right hand, and while Beasley contests the shot, he doesn't put a body on Bogut, allowing him to go straight up and finish the shot.
Game 2, 3rd quarter, 11:03 - Bogut misses 8-foot hook shot
Bogut gets the ball on the right side, all alone save for Milicic. He takes one dribble towards the middle of the lane, then quickly spins baseline and puts up a right-handed attempt. Bogut's shoulders were not all the way squared off, as the attempt sailed right (towards the backboard) and fell off.
Game 2, 3rd quarter, 4:56 - Bogut misses 7-foot hook shot
Left block, isolated against Milicic. Bogut takes a few strong dribbles with his right hand, then spins baseline and puts up a quick shot. The attempt is again rushed, as Bogut doesn't square off his shoulders, allowing the ball to drift to the right (towards the front of the rim).
Game 2, 3rd quarter, 4:18 - Bogut misses 14-foot hook shot
Bogut gets the ball at the middle of the free throw line, and drives to his left. He lowers his shoulder for his dribble, then pulls up and shoots the ball with his left hand. The shot didn't have enough on it, and hits the front of the rim.
Game 2, 4th quarter, 11:40 - Bogut misses 7-foot hook shot
Again on the right block against Milicic, Bogut doesn't even try backing his man down and instead pivots baseline for a quick attempt. Milicic continues to force Bogut's momentum away from the basket, and the attempt rims out.
Game 2, 4th quarter, 9:42 - Bogut misses 5-foot hook shot
Bogut gets the ball on the left block against Darko. A few right-handed power dribbles don't go anywhere, and Bogut spins baseline to put up a left-handed shot. Darko does a great job contesting the attempt, which hits the front of the rim and falls out. The frustration is obvious, but it's Andrew's own fault: his feet weren't set, and his shoulders weren't square.
Game 2, 4th quarter, 5:52 - Bogut misses 9-foot hook shot
Isolated on the right block against Kevin Love, Bogut tries backing him down. When that doesn't work, he picks up his dribble and steps to the middle of the lane. Love doesn't contest the left-handed shot, but the attempt has too much on it and hits the back iron and bounces out.
Game 2, 4th quarter, 5:45 - Bogut makes 5-foot hook shot (assist by Jennings)
A loose ball foul on the last possession allows Bogut to try again, this time off a quick pass by Jennings to the left block. The only Timberwolf in the area is Luke Ridnour, allowing Bogut to make the shot all by himself.
Game 2, 4th quarter, 5:09 - Bogut misses 5-foot hook shot
Isolated on the left block against Kevin Love, Bogut tries backing him down, then spins baseline for a quick left-handed shot. There's too much on the shot again, which hits the back of the rim and bounces out.
Against the Timberwolves, Bogut went 3/11 on hook shots, including one stretch of six straight mis-fires. The Minnesota combo of Milicic and Love did an excellent job defending Bogut, keeping him away from his preferred spots and making his life in the post difficult.
Game 3, 2nd quarter, 5:00 - Bogut misses 4-foot hook shot
On the right side of the lane against JaVale McGee, Bogut receives the pass from Mike Dunleavy. Without a dribble, Bogut takes a quick step with his right foot into the middle of the lane, pivoting as he shifts his weight over. A second defender comes from the free throw line, causing Bogut to hesitate for a moment. Bogut tries the shot anyway, but he's under duress and the shot hits the outside of the right rim.
Game 3, 3rd quarter, 4:37 - Bogut misses 4-foot hook shot
Off some excellent ball movement, Bogut gets the ball against Andray Blatche near the right elbow. Bogut tries using his left hand from this spot, but doesn't have enough on it as the ball hits the front of the rim. The shot clock has only 4 seconds left, helping Bogut to rush the shot.
Game 3, 4th quarter, 8:41 - Bogut misses 8-foot hook shot
Isolated on the left block against JaVale McGee, Bogut takes a few dribbles to the middle of the lane. He awkwardly throws his shoulder towards McGee, trying to create space, nearly losing his balance in the process. He gets it back and pivots on his right foot towards the baseline, makes a quick up-and-under fake, then puts the shot up with his right hand. Not enough touch on the ball, which hits the back iron and falls out.
Game 3, 4th quarter, 5:54 - Bogut misses 8-foot hook shot
Bogut gets the ball at the top of the key and tries to put it on the floor. After a relatively nifty (for his size) crossover, Bogut drives left. He nearly loses the ball, but gets it back and gathers for his shot. He lifts off of his right foot and shoots with his left hand, but the shot is contested and barely hits the front of the rim.
Against Washington, Bogut went 0/4 on hook shots. In my judgement, only one of the shots was a decent look, and even then it took a fake to get it.
Game 4, 2nd quarter, 11:15 - Bogut misses 9-foot hook shot
Bogut gets the ball between two smaller defenders right in the middle of the lane. He takes a quick dribble to the left, then puts up a left-handed attempt. Chris Andersen contests the shot, which hits the front of the rim and bounces out.
Game 4, 3rd quarter, 6:16 - Bogut misses 6-foot hook shot (blocked by Kosta Koufos)
Post isolation, right block. One strong dribble to the middle of the lane, and a rushed left-handed attempt that doesn't have enough on it, allowing Koufos to get a finger on it. One inch higher of a release might have been enough to convert this one.
Game 4, 3rd quarter, 6:03 - Bogut misses 7-foot hook shot
Same look as before, with another strong dribble to the middle of the lane. The attempt looks identical to the last one, from the release to the placement on the floor. Bogut gets up a little higher on this one (probably with the block still fresh in his mind), but his shoulders are again not square and the ball drifts right (hitting the inside of the right rim) and bouncing out.
Game 4, 3rd quarter, 3:27 - Bogut makes hook shot
Outside of the right block, Bogut begins backing down Chris Andersen. He again tries the running hook into the middle of the lane, doing a good job using his arms to protect the ball as the defender from the top of the key steps in and takes a swipe. The attempt is a bit short, but settles on the rim just long enough to fall inside instead of out.
Game 4, 4th quarter, 4:18 - Bogut misses 9-foot hook shot
On the right block against Al Harrington, Bogut tries dribbling around his man towards the center of the lane. Harrington keeps a hand on him, forcing Bogut's upper body to lean away from his lower body, which creates a sort of " < " look, with Bogut's hip at the point. Without resetting, this is a difficult attempt, but Bogut throws it up anyway. The attempt drifts so far to the right, it misses the rim completely, bouncing off the backboard.
Game 4, 4th quarter, 0:28 - Bogut misses 7-foot hook shot
Again against Al Harrington on the right block, Bogut tries dribbling with his left hand and forcing his way inside. Harrington's defense is stout, and he forces Bogut to pivot off his left foot towards the baseline. Harrington is pushing him the entire time. Bogut puts up a right-handed shot that looks decent, but Harrington contests it so hard that it hits the outside of the rim. Harrington actually puts Bogut on the floor because his defense is so tight, but no foul is called.
This play killed me to watch. I'm shouting "GO HARD, BIG MAN!" over and over, but Bogut is content to rely on his finesse game against the smaller Harrington. Whether or not it should have been a foul call, Bogut could have gotten a better look closer in and a better chance at drawing a foul had he simply kept on backing him down.
Against Denver, Bogut went 1/6 on hook shots.
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For simplicity's sake, I only accounted for attempts that were defined by the ESPN.com box score as "hook shots". There are probably a few that I missed, but I don't think that changes the fact that something is seriously wrong with our best post player's offensive weapon. On hook shots through four games, Andrew Bogut has converted 6/24. That's .250 shooting percentage on hook shots alone, which wouldn't be so bad if they didn't account for 41% of his attempts from the field.
Bogut is many things, but a dummy he is not. He must realize that there is something fundamentally wrong with the execution of this post move, and I would hope that he would either cut down his attempts and bully his way even closer to the rim, use more fakes to get himself more open looks, or work with coaches to find out what needs to be fine-tuned to get his percentages back up to par. I expect him to improve, but I'm worried since he's had such troubles and hasn't even faced a top-flight defensive center yet (Howard, Bynum, Perkins, etc.)
But if the Bucks are going to succeed this year, he must improve. If he doesn't, the offense is in serious trouble, even by Milwaukee standards. When the jump shots aren't falling, Bogut's post isolation game is one of our bread-and-butter opportunities for easy half-court points. If we can't rely on him for that, where are the baskets going to come from?