Hi Bucks’ fans! Welcome to the all-time top Bucks’ draft picks, power ranked by the fan’s yourselves. We are counting down all the way from #12 to #1, and today we are leading off with the worst best pick of the Bucks, Vin Baker and Andrew Bogut. Don’t forget to vote below for who is number 11.
Rounding out what happened in the introductory post, I had asked for the top two players in two separate polls to try and avoid this kind of scenario. But, with Vin barely sneaking by for second place in the second place poll, and Andrew Bogut reasonably beating him for second in the first place poll, Bogut and Baker are going to be covered here. This will be the only dual post, from here on, any future tiebreakers will be based on my personal rankings.
As for first place, Big Dog Glenn Robinson was clearly the front runner, so he will now be eligible to go all the way to the top of the rankings if you don’t vote him out sooner. He will also be joined by the top 10, which will slowly be revealed. Anyways, here is Andrew Bogut, and Vin Baker, the co-12th man on the bench for this series.
Vin Baker was the 8th selection in the 1993 NBA Draft by the Milwaukee Bucks, out of the University of Hartford (Connecticut). According to basketball reference, Vin turned out to be the 7th best player in the draft based on win-shares, behind Sam Cassell, Chris Webber, Penny Hardaway, Nick Van Exel, Allan Houston and Byron Russell.
Andrew Bogut was the first selection in the 2005 NBA Draft by the Milwaukee Bucks, out of Australia via Utah. According to basketball reference, Bogut turned out to be the 8th best player in the draft based on win-shares, behind Chris Paul, Deron Williams, David Lee, Marvin Williams, Lou Williams, Marcin Gortat and Amir Johnson (and one spot ahead of Ersan Ilyasova).
Baker was an All-Star from the 1995-1998 seasons, and made the All-NBA second team in 1998, and the third team in 1997 (very impressive with the likes of Shaq, Hakeem, Karl Malone, David Robinson and Patrick Ewing to name a few in the league at the time at the forward/center spots). He was also on the All-Rookie team in 1994. He has a similarity score close to Tristan Thompson, and maybe think back to 2015 with that one.
Bogut was a champion in 2015 with the Golden State Warriors, made the All-NBA third team in 2010, led the league in blocks in 2011, the All-Defense second team in 2015, and the All-Rookie first team in 2006. Bogut’s similarity score is Theo Ratliff.
CAREER SUCCESS AND “WHAT IF’S” FOR VIN
Vin Baker was a Buck for the first four seasons of his career, his best cumulative stretch during his 13 NBA seasons, making the All-Star team in three of them as well as becoming a third-team All-NBA player in 1997. He also made the All-Star team with the Seattle Supersonics in 1998 and All-NBA 2nd team, but after that his stats slowly started to fade in Seattle. After leaving those Seattle teams after the 2002 season (also Gary Payton’s last full year in Seattle before coming to the Bucks which is kind of coincidental), Baker really fell off and struggled to continue his career.
This shouldn’t come as a surprise to those who know Vin’s story. Baker blew nearly $100 million on alcohol, other illegal drugs, partying, and other purchases he probably could have been more wise with. He was likely overrun by events in his life that caused him to go down this spiral, but I think it’s unfair to truly speculate and all I can do is empathize with Vin. He battled addiction, and even dealt with a lot of pressure from the NBA to get his act together, especially during his time in Boston. After six attempts to get sober, officially according to Baker, he met with the former Supersonics owner and CEO of Starbucks to help him get his life back together, at Starbucks. He then went back into the NBA in 2018 after our former-interim coach Joe Prunty brought him on as an assistant. Vin found his way back, and I encourage you to check out his story. Check out on here, or Google “what happened to Vin Baker”.
As for what Vin could have provided for the Bucks and his legacy in Milwaukee? The first one is easier, he was one of the players who helped both Ray Allen and Big Dog Glenn Robinson bring the Bucks back from the dead after the Moncrief era, including his three All-Star appearances and an All-NBA third team award. So, when he was here, it was kind of like a DeMarcus Cousins on the Kings effect, but what would have happened had he not gotten traded to Seattle after the 1997 season?
Let’s assume he’s here, stays clean to an extent, and that likely means he at least has an impact similar to Brook Lopez or Andrew Bogut. The Bucks had traded Vin Baker following the 1997 season for Tyrone Hill and Terrell Brandon coming into the Bucks, and Shawn Kemp and Sherman Douglas going to the Cleveland Cavaliers. Had that trade not happened, I’m not sure what it would have accomplished for the 1998-2000 seasons, but it could have made a difference in 2001. Joining forces with Sam Cassell, Allen and Robinson, the Bucks would have had a very solid group of four to take on Allen Iverson in the Eastern Conference Finals, and I think any slight upgrade gives the Bucks the edge in that series.
Vin Baker is an upgrade over Scott Williams or Ervin Johnson (not the same as Earvin “Magic” Johnson FYI), so I think the Bucks beat the Sixers. Do they beat the Lakers in the Finals with Vin Baker instead of Scott Williams? Again, let’s think if they had Brook Lopez, would that have happened? I doubt it, the Lakers really stomped out the 76ers in the 2001 Finals. As for the other seasons from 1998-2006 when he retired, I don’t really think he would have had that much of an impact. Perhaps another Eastern Conference Semifinals or Finals appearance, but I can’t imagine we pass up Detroit, Cleveland or New Jersey during this time.
Was Bogut the worst of the number one picks by the Bucks? Likely. But, that doesn’t mean he was a bad player. A lot of people thought Bogut was disappointing with the Bucks, at least that I was around, but I more think that was a collective statement about the Bucks, not necessarily Bogut. In fact, having six straight seasons in Milwaukee between 2007 and 2012 averaging 11 and 8 or better is very impressive. Making a third-team NBA is impressive and says that season he was the third best center in basketball. He also averaged over two blocks per game three straight seasons.
Bogut has been injured a lot in his career, and has only played in over 70 games twice. I’m sure many of you remember that fall he took on that dunk on his elbow, and from there I think his offensive skill set disappeared. Due to his injury-plagued season which helped with the emergence of Larry Sanders for that short time he was relevant, we traded Bogut for Monta Ellis Ellis and it became a rental. Then we had the worst season in our history (15-67 in 2013-14) to lead us on the way to where we are now. So in a weird way, Bogut’s injuries were a stepping stone that led us to tearing down the old roster and getting what we have today.
Looking at that team after Ellis, Brandon Jennings and JJ Redick all left, Larry Sanders only played in 23 games. Ramon Sessions was second in scoring and we started Nate Wolters 31 games. But back to Bogut, the fabled trade that might’ve landed Steph Curry, he might’ve been unlikely to stick around as well. Thus, we would have been in the same situation. So, I think Bogut being traded actually helped the Bucks here in the long-run.
It also helped Bogut. He caught on as the starting center for an up-and-coming franchise in Golden State, which eventually became the juggernaut that we are still seeing today led by Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green. Bogut won his championship with them in 2015, although he famously was removed from the starting lineup due to his lack of switchability on defense. Still, he was a big part of their success, and was on the All-Defense team for a reason.
When it comes to Vin’s impact, I don’t think he had massive impact on the Association because of his play. I think if he continues to use his mistakes as a way to help some of the current and future players and use their money the right way for them and the masses that root for them, that could wind up being his legacy. But for now, it’s a lot of “what-ifs” for Vin’s career, especially with the Bucks.
As far as Bogut’s legacy goes, I think it is important to remember that injuries derailed his career, but he also was a meaningful part of the organization for half a decade and should be remembered fondly. He did many good things on the court when he was there as well as for the community, and I think his move from the franchise (another John Hammond ingenuity), is what might’ve started the downfall that led to the rise of our championship season. It’s a stretch, yeah, but I wouldn’t have had it any other way.
There you have it, Vin Baker and Andrew Bogut. Who’s next at #11?
Not who’s best, but who should be next on this list counting down to number one? Vote and comment below!
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