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Thursday, September 22nd, 2011 at 1:11 pm  |  75 responses

Top 50: Andrew Bogut, no. 49

The definitive ranking of the NBA’s best players.

by Todd Spehr

There’s a chance Andrew Bogut will play in the Australian professional league during the lockout. It’s a fairytale that gets good run in the national newspapers about three or four times a week; the media attempts to generate interest in a starved sport, and the player floats the possibility of finally connecting with his home country, where they can reflect in his somewhat unlikely stardom.

The realistic part of your mind tells you it is a pipedream, but in weaker, more vulnerable moments you think, geez, with everything else going on this offseason, it just might happen. But typically there is a bump in the road that may keep this from reality: The team that lands Bogut is the one who first pays the ghastly insurance cost to cover his professional salary.

Bogut playing in the Australian league presents a two-fold opportunity: The most successful male basketball player Australia has produced gives himself to his country for something at once more and less than an Olympic run, where he’s finally packaged for them, and they can follow him daily or actually see him play in person; it also could make people over here give a crap about the local professional league, which, as of about the last 14 years, has been comfortably residing alongside “Winning the Lottery” in the probability file.

Bogut’s career fate has long been a fear of mine. I sometimes wonder if he’ll ever join a team or have teammates who make his acute understanding of the game—four players working without the ball, the offensive running in smooth waves, the bullet pass from the post—fully come to fruition. I watch him play for Milwaukee, revere his somehow-underrated defensive presence and wonder if that aggression will ever transfer to the other end of the floor, where one day he will scowl, scream for the ball, then lean into the post defender before finishing him off with some move that is deft and skillful.

But most persistently, I wonder if he’ll ever truly connect with his homeland, where they’ll buy his jersey, jump online at lunchtime to check the Bucks boxscore, or draw inspiration from his stupidly-untold late-bloomer story—one that needs to be heard by aspiring teenage athletes of any sport.

I don’t know exactly why that sticks with me, it just seems that his impact off the floor could potentially be more relevant than anything he could do on it; he could be to us what Dirk Nowitzki is to Germany, what Pau Gasol is to Spain. He should be loved here instead of “just” liked, and for various reasons—both of his control and not—he is not.

I don’t know if Bogut will play here during the lockout, but the benefits locally are obvious. I hope it happens, clearly for us—but mostly, for him.

SLAMonline Top 50 Players 2011
Rank Player Team Position Pos. Rank
50 Luol Deng Bulls SF 8
49 Andrew Bogut Bucks C 7

Notes
• Rankings are based solely on projected ’11-12 performance.
• Contributors to this list include: Maurice Bobb, Shannon Booher, David Cassilo, Bryan Crawford, Sandy Dover, Adam Figman, Jon Jaques, Eldon Khorshidi, Ryne Nelson, Doobie Okon, Ben Osborne, Quinn Peterson, Dave Schnur, Abe Schwadron, Dan Shapiro, Irv Soonachan, Todd Spehr, Tzvi Twersky, Yaron Weitzman, DeMarco Williams and Ben York.
• Want more of the SLAMonline Top 50? Check out the archive.

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  • Isaac

    Remember last year when you left Griffin and Gordon off this list, but put John Wall on it?

  • http://slamonline.com LakeShow

    Man the 2nd or 3rd best Center in the L rated #49 that’s crazy…. and maybe accurate.

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    I’m already getting itchy about who y’all must have put over him.

  • http://www.optimabbc.be Max

    ^
    Just what I was gonna say, guess the pf position makes up for it a lil bit.

  • http://www.optimabbc.be Max

    @ LakeShow that was.

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    And this write up is good but it said nothing about why he is number 49, or even what he does positive on a basketball court, other then that he is underrated defensively and understands the game.

  • ctkennedy

    Slam mag yall tellin me there is goin to be 6 BETTER CENTERS than Bogut next season …SMGDH

  • http://www.slamonline.com Wayno

    There ain’t no way Boozer is on the list now…

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    Nene better be next or not on this list. Neither better Tyson Chandler, Brook Lopez, or Andrea Bargnani.

  • Double J

    man i feel for ya NBK, bogut is a legit center

  • http://www.slamonline.com Wayno

    If Bargnani is on the list I’ll lose my mind…

  • http://redoftoothandclaw.ca/ niQ

    Seeing Bogut at 49 makes me wonder if there will even be any Raptors on the list =(. Come onnnn, DeRozan!

  • http://bulls.com airs

    im probably sleeping on bogut but oh well, i think there are a few centers better than him
    dwight
    bynum
    noah
    gasol
    and i guess nene.
    im not mad about this one

  • http://redoftoothandclaw.ca/ niQ

    @airs. It’s easy to sleep on Bogut cause of his injury history. He’d probably be ranked higher if he could play a full season..

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    I wouldn’t argue with any of those airs. I would say it depends on what you want out of your center between Nene and Bogut. Defense or Offense. Pick and Roll, or Post and Cut. Protect the Rim on Defense or Rotations and Hedge Picks on Defense. They are both strong where the other is weak. Except Bogut is a better rebounder

  • Allenp

    Bogut is too low. People are going to be pissed. I would only put Dwight above him at his position definitively. Everybody else is an argument.

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    I agree Allen. Well I agree that Bogut can be argued over everyone but Dwight, not that I would argue him over everyone else.

  • http://www.optimabbc.be Max

    The only other centers I see making this list are Dwight and Marc.

  • http://cnbc.com JTaylor21

    No way in hell Andrea “Cottonelle” Bargnani, Tyson Chandler or even Brook Lopez are better centers than Bogut. The guy is hands down the second best center in the L behind DHow.

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    IMO The argument for Bynum when Healthy is acceptable, I can see the argument for Noah as well. I wouldn’t take Marc Gasol over Bogut, but offensively he is definitely better. Other then them, Nene, and Dwight Howard, I don’t see a center in the league as (even arguably) good as Bogut.

  • Allenp

    Bogut is the best two center not named Dwight. He can score in the post, score in the faceup. Elite defender very good passer. I don’t even like dude that much but he hoops hard. He is as good or better on defense as every other center not named Dwight and probably fourth best on offense. No other player better combines offense and defense besides Dwight.

  • Allenp

    And Nene is overrated. I know he is popular now but I watched dude too long. He s very good but not elite at anything.

  • http://cnbc.com JTaylor21

    How much better would the Lakers be with Bogut instead of Bynum?
    I know they won 2 chips with Bynum at the 5 but I think they would be a better overall team with Bogut. Bogut’s a very good passer and shooter so teamed up with Gasol makes the Lakers offense that much better not to mention he’s a better rebounder, defender and finisher than Bynum.
    The lakers have been very successful with Bynum, so it’s a moot point.

  • ScottyBoi

    Al Jefferson says hello.

  • ctkennedy

    Bogut why he over everybody Howard
    Noah ..better straight up defender,shot blocker,n can score wayyy better with back to the basket
    Chandler…can run the offense thru Bogut over Chandler high or low…on D flip a coin
    Nene …better defender all around no matter how u look at it
    Nene offense aint good enuff to make up the difference
    Horford…Same as Nene
    Bynum …less healthy than Bogut till he becomes more than the 4th option he cant be better than a 1st n 2nd option for his team

  • http://Slamonline.com nbk

    Bogut is the 2nd or 3rd best defensive center in the league. Howard, Bogut, & Chandler are in a whole different league defensively then the rest of the centers in the NBA. Its not even a debate

  • ctkennedy

    but^^^^

  • http://cnbc.com JTaylor21

    No way is Noah a better shotblocker or even close to being a decent back-to-basket player than Bogut.
    Nene has never been a good defender at anything.
    Someone needs to watch some more bucks games before they talk.

  • ctkennedy

    @JTaylor21 no…thats what im sayin Bogut got over them …lol

  • http://cnbc.com JTaylor21

    Oops….my bad. Excuse me while I slip on a dunce cap.

  • http://www.bulls.com Enigmatic

    No way is Bogut a better defender than Noah.
    Shotblocker, yes. But there’s more to defense than blocking shots.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Wayno

    Marc Gasol has to be in this convo…

  • Allenp

    Noah has quicker feet. That is it.
    Gasol is better on offense. Slightly. Not even close on defense.

  • http://Slamonline.com nbk

    Bynum protects the rim as well if not better than Bogut. He doesnt guard pick and rolls or guard smaller quicker players nearly as well. Offensively Bynum is a much better scorer, Bogut’s the better passer, and pick & roll player. Ehh i’d prolly give the slight edge to Bogut overall

  • Allenp

    Bynum has the advantage of hooping with another seven footer. Bogut has a 6’5″ cat playing power forward.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Wayno

    And if we’re going based on projections, DeMarcus Cousins and Greg Monroe could have a legit place in this convo.

  • http://slamonline.com LakeShow

    Other AllenP you might wanna switch your name. Might get confusing having 2 AllenP’s, nowhadimean? Bogut just a hair all around better than Bynum. That being said, I’d take Bynum going forward. He has a chance to be great still. Bogut isn’t going to get any better I don’t think.

  • http://cnbc.com JTaylor21

    Lakeshow, I think it’s the same AllenP.
    Also how great can Bynum really be? When someone mentions “great”, I hope they are talking 22/12 great not the 15/10 that seems to be Bynum’s ceiling.

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    Bogut has 6’9″ Drew Gooden Starting, a 6’8″ Luc Richard Mbah a Moute (the best defender of anyone on either team not named Bogut) & Larry Sanders (6’9″) coming off the bench. Milwaukee’s PF’s defensively compared to the Lakers…- Milwaukee’s PF’s held their opponent to 18.2Points Per 48 Minutes, (Compared to 19.0 for LA) (Mbah a Moute at 16.3 – Gooden at 20.1 & Sanders at 19.1) – (Gasol at 19.3). Gasol as a PF on defense has a few liabilities to go with his strengths, like helping on athletic 4′s. Guarding the new age 4 is a major issue with him in the lineup (DIRK)

  • Allenp

    It is the same Allen.
    My bad I thought Luc was 6’5″cat for some reason Excuse me on that.

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    OH and Milwuakee’s Power Forwards gave up 11.3 Rebounds Per 48 compared to 12.1 for LA

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    What Noah does better then Bogut is hedge on P&R’s (which is becoming increasingly important), Pass (barely), and communicate. Now depending on how much you value these things (for a “Center”) I can see the argument, but I wouldn’t personally consider Bogut a better choice at the position. (If they played PF I would feel differently, and Noah might actual make a better PF……if he played with Andrea Bargnani or a 7’0″ like that)

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    I wouldn’t consider *Noah* a better choice at the position. My bad

  • http://slamonline.com LakeShow

    JTaylor I think Bynum CAN be a 20, 10 dude with out a doubt. With his past I can’t say in confidence he will. He has the talent and size to put up 22+ 12+ 3+ on 55%+ Which is better than Bogut will/can do. They are virtually Equal now, but Bynums got skillz people sleep on just becaus ehe is 3/1.5th option on his team and his injuries. He is the 2nd or 3rd best when he’s rolling. Then again Kaman is also so it’s kinda whatever with the kid till he proves himself.

  • http://www.thestranger.com/seattle/deeply-embarrassed-white-people-talk-awkwardly-about-race/Content?oid=9747101 Allenp

    Bynum is overrated.

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    Bynum has issues being double teamed that have never reared their head in LA because of the offense he was apart of, and the talent around him. Bynum is very overrated if you think he will/can ever be a 22+ 12+ and 3+ Center. And he will never lead the league in blocks and charges taken like Bogut can/almost did.

  • http://slamonline.com LakeShow

    AllenP is overrated.

  • http://slamonline.com LakeShow

    I love the term “overrated.” McDonalds is overrated. Movies are overrated. Slam is overrated…. nbk, 22,12,3 are numbers he could reach if he were the 1st option and yes he could do that in an injury free season. Not saying he will because he has yet to show he can stay healthy. But i’ve watched every game he has ever played in. I see what he can do. Put Bynum on the Wolves and he could put up those numbers. He’s as good or better offensively as Dwight.

  • http://cnbc.com JTaylor21

    I don’t see Bynum ever coming close to a 22/12/3 season. 17/11/2.5 is the best I can see from him.

  • http://cnbc.com JTaylor21

    Lakeshow, sorry but Bynum is not as good and damn sure is not better than DHow offensively especially after the kind of numbers (scoring-wise) Howard put up last season. You have remember that the Magic (stupidly) are a 3pt shooting team, so in reality Howard is the second option (the guy took only 13.4 shots a game).

  • http://slamonline.com LakeShow

    I agree Taylor. Just saying if all went nothing but up hill from here. Do you see how he has been moving the last couple years? It’s dam gross looking. Dude use to be able to run the floor and he was an “Athletic Center” Now he is hobbling around and still putting up 12, 10, 2 as a 3rd/4th option. If he gets rid of those injuries and plays up to his talent/size level he will be 20, 10.

  • http://slamonline.com LakeShow

    Bynum has much more offensive skills and softer touch than Howard by far. He doesn’t dominate like Dwight does with his supreme athletisim and strength because he can’t but yes he is a much more skilled offensive player. Have you seen Dwight and Bynum go head to head?? If you haven’t go check it out.

  • http://slamonline.com LakeShow

    Bynum is definitely more offensively talented than Dwight with out question. He has a softer touch and better moves and skills on offense easily. What he lacks is Dwights supreme athleticism and power. He could get the power back if he strengthens his knees back to were they were.

  • http://Slamonline.com nbk

    IF he gets rid of those injuries that are definitely going to plague him his whole career. If he was the first option in the perfect system, maybe. But 22+ 13+ & 3+ on 55% is basically saying Bynum will/can be the best Center since Shaq. Which is absurd.

  • http://cnbc.com JTaylor21

    You have to remember to that DHow is one of the best (if not the best) at getting to the FT line, which is a huge factor with regards to a player’s PPG. I know he’s not the first option but Bynum’s career high is 4.3FTA, compared to DHoward (led the L in FTAs 3 times). Bynum may have better touch around the basket but they are both equals when it comes to post moves (that’s with DHow finally developing one last season).

  • http://www.bulls.com Enigmatic

    Well, considering Howard put up 22, 14 and 3 on 59% last season, even IF Bynum put up those absurd (for him) numbers LakeShow said, he STILL wouldn’t have top-center status.
    What’s funny to me is we all know that if Bynum was traded for Howard, Lakeshow would be saying “Oh hell yeah! Dwight’s the best since Shaq! Bynum’s a bum!”

  • http://www.bulls.com Enigmatic

    My bad, he actually put up 23 per, not 22 last year (well, 22.9)

  • http://Slamonline.com nbk

    Well my bad. Still those are not stats Bynum is ever gonna get. Maybe if his career went differently from the jump. Oden though, Oden would be better then all of them in that injury free world.

  • http://cnbc.com JTaylor21

    Sorry but it doesn’t matter what world we are in; avatar world, man’s world or injury free world. Oden will never be better than Howard, never.

  • http://slamonline.com LakeShow

    Dwight is the best since Shaq… Bynum does suck and is injured all time. I don’t even like dude. Like I said I have seen EVERY SINGLE GAME HE HAS EVER PLAYED IN THE NBA. So i’m not just coming outta the bushes with this. Ya’ll sleeping if you think dude can’t put up 20, 10.

  • http://www.bulls.com Enigmatic

    No doubt, nbk.
    I still love watching highlights of that Ohio St/Florida NCAA title game when, despite losing to the Gators, Oden as a freshman was straight clowning the junior duo of Joakim Noah and Al Horford all by his lonesome.

  • http://Slamonline.com nbk

    Neiter of us know how good Oden would have been if he never got hurt.

  • http://Slamonline.com nbk

    20 and 10 is drastically different then averaging 22+ 13+ 3+ on 55% shooting Lakeshow.

  • http://cnbc.com JTaylor21

    Isn’t it like saying “nobody knows just how good Bowie would have been if not for the injuries”? It’s all speculation because no one will ever know but even when healthy, Oden hasn’t shown me anything to think he would be a better center than DHow (he could be his equal in terms of rebounding and shot-blocking but Howard has him beat everywhere else).

  • Chris Ili

    There is absoluetly no way there are 6 better centres in the NBA than Bogut.

    Howard is the clear number 1, but Bogut is number 2.

    Saying Bunym is better is a joke. If Bogut was on the Lakers, they would have 3peated last year!

  • Lazarus

    lol what a joke.

  • http://slamonline.com Ugh

    Nene and Marc Gasol over Bogut? Slam, you’re better than that.

  • KH10

    If Dwight had Boguts offensive skills the Magic would have at least one ring by now. Bogut also blocked more shots despite playing less minutes last season. Should be ranked 2nd among centers and a lot higher on this list.

  • KH10

    Also, this was a lame article, wether or not Bogut is popular in australia has nothing to do with his ranking here or his impact on the court.

  • http://www.thestranger.com/seattle/deeply-embarrassed-white-people-talk-awkwardly-about-race/Content?oid=9747101 Allenp

    NBK
    Lakers fans honestly believe he has a Dwight ceiling. Thus, he is vastly overrated. I will be shocked if he ever averages 20 on a contender.

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    Taylor, sort of is, sort of isn’t. I didn’t mean to get into a what if battle. I was just saying, based on everything we saw from them pre-nba, Greg Oden was the most NBA ready IMO. He never lost a homegame in his entire life until he entered the league. He made Mike Conley look like a sure thing at PG. He outplayed 2 of the best Centers in the league as a freshman in college. Dwight almost went 2nd in his draft to Emeka Okafor, that’s how much people thought of him as a sure thing. But I realize, at this point, Greg Oden will never be as good as Dwight Howard.

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    HAHA you right Allen. you know Lakers fans aren’t known to be anywhere near realistic with their expectations.

  • Harlem_World

    Bogut is ranked too low. Closer to last years ranking (39). Put this big on a contender or a big media market team with the exact same game and peoples perceptions of him would change dramatically in a season.

  • wrethman

    serious? 49? ….. wow. this guy should b top 30.

  • bigMvp

    Welcome to the Sydney Kings Bogut!!!

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