Wednesday, September 22nd, 2010 at 8:00 am  |  60 responses

Top 50: Andrew Bogut, no. 39

The definitive ranking of the NBA’s best players.

by Todd Spehr

It’s easy to doubt Andrew Bogut.

For starters, he’s from Australia, where you can count on two hands the amount of NBA players we’ve produced, and count on two fingers the ones who have been successful there. There’s been bouts of inconsistency, times where he’s overmatched, and seasons where he’s under-produced. Then, famously, there was the injury to his right arm last April, in the midst of his best stretch of basketball; his right index finger and right wrist were broken, his elbow dislocated – the ideal injury if you wanted someone’s career derailed. The doubt now: Will Andrew Bogut’s career continue its upward rise?

Bogut isn’t exactly a national treasure back home. His story isn’t widely known, and he’s not enough of a presence there for it to be exhaustively hashed and re-hashed to the pAndrew Bogutublic as some sort of inspiration to youngsters or reaffirming of his status as our best hoops export. We know he’s good, we know he’s wealthy, but a large portion of locals have never seen Bogut do what he does best, as he plies his trade in a sport much more profitable and on the national conscience over there as it is in his homeland.

He was a clumsy kid, and very tall, thanks to two sharp growth spurts as a teenager. The game came slowly, but not as slowly as it was just to prove himself – there were plenty of doubting coaches, teams to be cut from, feelings to be hurt. He, thankfully, in a manner not unlike Dirk Nowitzki, found himself a mentor, a trainer, someone who could teach him subtle things like footwork and agility. And then he worked. That’s what people forget about Bogut: He worked. He always loved the game, played it and watched it as a kid, but now he wanted to prove people wrong. Bogut was never cut from another team.

Bogut has always taken his time. He was an aforementioned late-bloomer as a teenager before becoming a world-level talent as a junior. His freshman season at Utah was inconsistent, before a sophomore season where he was the Wooden Award winner. Now there’s his professional career, where perhaps at times he was passive offensively, his aggression not evident enough. But that came. Last year he took more shots than ever, passed less, blocked more shots, and was overall a firmer presence inside. He led the Bucks (and was among the league leaders) in rebounding and blocks, placed second in scoring, and his team made the Playoffs for the first time since 2006.

The injury derailed him, there’s no doubt about it. He watched Milwaukee’s first round series with Atlanta from the bench with his arm in a contraption; by mid-summer, full range of motion in that right arm was yet to be experienced. The doubters, once again, are lining up.

But in truth, from looking at Bogut’s history of showing perseverance and gaining steam, the only question that matters is: Why on earth would you doubt him?

Player Team Position 2010 2009 2010 2009
Ray Allen Celtics SG 50 36 11 10
Gilbert Arenas Wizards SG 49 34 10 9
Lamar Odom Lakers PF 48 33 14 10
John Wall Wizards PG 47 NR 13 NR
OJ Mayo Grizzlies SG 46 46 9 12
Al Horford Hawks C 45 NR 6 NR
Jason Kidd Mavs PG 44 45 12 10
Joakim Noah Bulls C 43 NR 5 NR
LaMarcus Aldridge Blazers PF 42 39 13 12
David West Hornets PF 41 31 12 8
Monta Ellis Warriors SG 40 NR 8 NR
Andrew Bogut Bucks C 39 NR 4 NR

• Rankings are based solely on projected ’10-11 performance.
• Contributors to this list include: Jeremy Bauman, Maurice Bobb, Erildas Budraitis, Sean Ceglinsky, Ben Collins, Bryan Crawford, Sandy Dover, Adam Figman, Manny Maduakolam, Eddie Maisonet, Ryne Nelson, Doobie Okon, Ben Osborne, Charles Peach, Branden Peters, Quinn Peterson, David Schnur, Todd Spehr, Kyle Stack, Adam Sweeney, Dennis Tarwood, Tracy Weissenberg, Lang Whitaker, Eric Woodyard, and Nima Zarrabi.
• Want more of the SLAMonline Top 50? Check out the archive.

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  • Ouse

    So I’m getting from this list that the strongest position in the league is PF, the weakest definitely the C.

  • http://www.shawnkemp.com Masr

    I want him to be a little bit higher, because I think he is at least a top 3 center.

  • http://www.slamonline.com J

    i’m hoping for a full recovery and an all star berth this coming season from this guy. imho, last years playoffs might have a different ending for them if he played.

  • T-Money

    way too low!

  • Squirrel7

    I don’t care how good he is, high-fiving himself after the free-throw was comedy gold!

  • http://www.slamonline.com J

    is jennings here on the list? because i don’t think he’s gonna outperform bogut next season.

  • http://twitter.com/on_ray henry

    @squirrel7 i still show that video to everyone i meet

  • http://www.twitter.com/hurstysyd Hursty

    I know he’s been injured and all, but this list assumes everyone is healthy right? eg Yao.
    Andrew Bogut is just as important to his team’s success as Brandon Roy is. Discuss.

  • paolo paolo

    Bogut has been cocky about his skills, but his initial statement ‘better than Luc Longley’ is becomming true. In this era of weak competition Bogut is beyond capable to be top 3 center in the L.

  • http://slamonline.com/ Ryne Nelson

    @Ouse: Not many teams have a solid center these days. And some top ‘centers’ like Al Horford are forced to play out of position.

  • http://250aspirin.blogspot.com DJ Leon Smith

    I can’t wait to see the centers ranked higher than Bogut.

  • http://slamonline.com/ Ryne Nelson

    @Hursty: There’s no assumptions on perfect health. We’re ranking players on their projected performance… so if they’re injury prone, we talk that into consideration. The 24 minutes/game assertion wasn’t reported at the time this list was compiled, though. That obviously could’ve affected Yao’s position.

  • http://Myspace.com Shanoooooo

    Ok, So there is six Centers ranked in the top 50… Your not a true fan if you can’t name the top 3. D. Howard, A. Bynum and C. Kaman. Easy……

  • Young C

    Another guy that wasn’t on my list. Boguts not even better than Chris Kaman,Brook Lopez or Marc Gasol. Let alone Dwight Howard or Yao. Lets not pretend like he should be any higher. He definetly isn’t top 3

  • http://Myspace.com Shanoooooo

    Alot of these guys won’t be better than Yao but it’s the injuries duh, that keep him off. I like Brook Lopez and Marc Gasol as true centers. I could see them cracking this list next year.

  • wottywo

    I don’t like Bogut here, he should be higher around 50. But I’m guessing slam is saying that if he wouldn’t have gotten hurt last year, the bucks would have been a second round team. So I can’t hate on that.

  • http://slamonline.com Krishan

    So bogut being here this early has already cemented jennings’ absence? And Young C, brooke and kaman might have MARGINALLY better numbers, but bogut is essential, even central, to his team’s meteoric rise last season. Marc gasol being better is laughable. Dwight and yao are better, and yao’s always injured. Top three is definitely not far fetched.

  • http://slamonline.com Krishan

    So…bogut being here this early means there’s no jennings right? And, young c, kaman and lopez only have marginally better numbers than bogut, but he’s been central to milwaukee’s meteoric rise last season. And his defense is staggeringly underrated. Marc gasol is not better, not even close. Him being top three C is not far fetched.

  • http://slamonline.com Krishan

    Damn sorry double post.

  • http://onemoreandigottago.blogspot.com Zak_Knutson13

    I can never get enough of watching him absolutely sh*t on Big Baby.

  • Overtime

    decent ranking, if the elbow injury hadnt happeed he could be as much as ten places higher.
    Like his game, solid inside presence, focusing on rebounding/shot blocking but can score. A good compliment to Jennings I think

  • http://thephotoriot.com davidR

    given the new offensive weapons on the bucks, plus john salmons having a full training camp to gel, i think it’s safe to say jennings’ numbers will rise and yield him a higher ranking on this list. i think bogut’s ranking is hampered a little by how bad the injury was/is. kind of hard to predict what kind of season he’ll have, especially since the injury was late last season

  • http://thephotoriot.com davidR

    err, it should be jel, cause according to lang, gel is what you put in your hair

  • j

    I don’t know… Gasol was pretty good, and he hasn’t had the injury issues that Bynum has had, and his numbers were pretty similar. Not as good at pick and roll d, but still a good player, and I would rather 82 games of him than 60 games of Bogut. And what are we calling Al Jeff? I could see him coming back with a bang. No where near the defensive player that Bogut is but was 20-10 plus for 2 years before the acl injury which usually takes 2 years to fully recover from.

  • http://google c_cantrell

    not a top 3 center.. not a top 5 center.. not likin his spot.. i woulda put him at 49 or 50 or jus left him off the list

  • TrailBlazing&SportingLisbon

    c_cantrell: than you dont know jacksh1t bout ball…Bogut is a top 5 center EASY, and I sure hope Young buck Jennings doesnt make an appearence or this list becomes a joke.

  • http://thephotoriot.com davidR

    trail, why would having jennings on this list make it a joke?

  • http://thephotoriot.com davidR

    interesting point about marc gasol. if gasol and bogut were to switch teams, is it safe to assume both teams would still perform the way they do? unfortunately, i don’t think he’s going to make this list. now that yao’s been named, there are only 3 centers left:
    -brook lopez?

  • http://www.need4sheed.com Tarzan Cooper

    Bogut is at least top 4 centers. And second most complete behind yao. Its kinda funny how some people say things like, theres no real centers anymore. Yao, dwight, kaman, bogut, brook, tiago, bynum, nene, grampa(if he will ever play), perk, etc

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    If Kaman, Lopez, Gasol, or almost any other Center is put ahead of Bogut (cept Yao, TD, Amar’e and Dwight) then the voters totally flubbed this. Bogut at one point last season was going to take a good majority of DPOY votes. He was the best defensive center in the league outside of Dwight. His passing ability, footwork, and midrange jumper make him a more threatening offensive player then Dwight though. He is truly underrated

  • http://www.need4sheed.com Tarzan Cooper

    And him high fiving himself was almost as funny as when adam morrison stole a high five from dallas, truly strange

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    Reports are that Bogut will be playing with pain all year and will not have full range of motion in his arm. The injury concerns justify, to an extendt, him being so low.
    I can see why people are mad though.

  • TrailBlazing&SportingLisbon

    DavidR: cause without Bogut the Bucks last year win less 20 games and without Jennings they may had won more, HE WAS JUST AWFUL on offense, allways shooting like 5-19 and sh1t like that…I like him, big potential, you just cant have your PG shooting 37% on 15 shots per game, he´ll get here, JUST NOT AHEAD OF THE BEST PLAYER OF HIS OWN TEAM

  • http://thephotoriot.com davidR

    yea, but jennings almost led the bucks to the second round, without bogut. sure he shoots an abysmal percentage, but you’re overlooking all the other things he brings to the table.
    i’m not sure about this, but is it feasible to think that jennings may have had a part in bogut’s breakout year?
    plus, you’re talking what-ifs.

  • TrailBlazing&SportingLisbon

    its possible, Bogut needed a PG and Jennings is a good one, however, Bogut is far and away more important to that teams success…thats why I said he cant be on this list unless is behind Bogut

  • http://thephotoriot.com davidR

    you may be right about that, but just keep in mind that this list is based on projected performance. i think it’s safe to say that although bogut may be more important to the team, jennings will most likely have the better season. bogut’s injury further supports that

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    Oh damn I didn’t read that Allen. I had no idea it would limit him all year

  • http://250aspirin.blogspot.com DJ Leon Smith

    People are saying Brook Lopez, Marc Gasol and Kaman are better than Bogut? No wonder the rest of the world thinks you’re bloody yank drongos.

  • http://Www.fiba.com Darksaber

    Hmm, came back from a BACK injury to be among league leaders in Blocks: check. Rebounds: check. Upped his scoring output, yes he did. The defensive backbone of Skiles team: uh huh. Has the sweetest left handed hookshot in the eastern Conference: u betcha (only second to Pau’s). Snubbed in last year’s ASG, well i personally think so. One of the most interesting Players on Twitter: bet on it. 39th on this list; i disageee.

  • Red

    He is a bust, after such a time he finally produces a little..wow great. Bad call with this.

  • Missballer

    Red….Bust!!?? hahah, Are you playing in the NBA! Do i sense a bit of jealousy!! Would love to see him dunk on your head like he did on Big Baby….Priceless…I love Bogut and his skills…Go Bogut and Go Bucks…Loving the look of the team right now even though i dont even go for the bucks…

  • Shanwow

    @Dj Leon Smith…Classic..Yank drongos. Mate remember Bogut is totally underrated in the US.. Jennings gets way more publicity over here in Aus, on Nba.com etc. No reports here that Bogut is playing less nxt season due to concuring injury.But what do i know..kill em Bogie

  • http://www.twitter.com/hurstysyd Hursty

    He’s top 30 when healthy. I’m raging that people think he doesn’t at least deserve this spot.

  • http://hoopistani.blogspot.com hoopistani

    Bogus is great, was one of the best defensive players in the league last year

  • lazaruz

    39 please. boogieman is definately top 20, top 10 in my books. best post game at center in the L and definately an elite defender, onball and weakside.

  • lazaruz

    did you just rank him number 4 on your centers?

    ok now im on a rage. he is definately legitly number 2 and still then you can make a case why hes better than dwight.

  • bucksfan

    add me to the mad men! Bogut’s defensive rating was the second best in the league of ALL players last season behind Dwight (see Basketball-Reference). He was second in blocks, first in blocks/charges, the best Buck since 2000BC in blocks and steals combined. He was a top 10 rebounder at both ends.
    He earns his paycheck on those numbers alone. Whatever he does at the offensive end (a not-too-shabby 16ppg at over 50%) is icing. And his ability to draw the double make the key first pass isn’t picked up on stats. Damned haters!

  • http://stapledesign.com Spaceship Jay

    Speech of him being better than Dwight on another post. Should be lower.

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    Lot of hometown rooters for Bogut.

  • ryder

    Wha???!!!??? Bogut’s the 2nd best center and 2nd best big in the league. This is crazy… (BTW, what’s with the extreme overrating of Brook Lopez? Personally, I like my bigs to be able to defend, rebound, and block shots, none of which are strengths of BLo)

  • ryder

    …and I’ve never even been to Milwaukee

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