First there was the fluid build up in Andrew Bogut’s elbow reported by an Australian television network, then there was the fluid build up in Andrew Bogut’s elbow from the Milwaukee Bucks front office that the franchise center would not miss the start of the 2010-11 season.
Milwaukee Bucks GM John Hammond, Bogut and Scott Skiles can say all the positive things they want about Bogut being ready for the season opener on October 27 in New Orleans, but behind closed doors the Milwaukee Bucks have to be planning for temporary life without their star center.
By Jake McCormick
A couple months ago, John Hammond had overstocked the front court and could afford to dangle a power forward for trade bait, should he so desire. Now, that collection of stereotypical fours and tweeners may be expected to shoulder an increased workload under the basket.
The acquisitions of power forwards Jon Brockman and Drew Gooden had their fair share of questions, but hindsight is always 20/20. Whatever concerns people have about Gooden’s contract amount and length or Brockman becoming the sixth big man on the roster should temorarily be assuaged by remembering the back up plan during last year’s stretch run.
Any way you slice it, Drew Gooden, Larry Sanders, and Jon Brockman are upgrades in talent and production over Kurt Thomas, Dan Gadzuric, and Primoz Brezec. None of the three current Milwaukee Bucks bigs are true centers, but Gooden would stand to inherit the starting center position in a way similar to that of Kurt Thomas last year.
That would leave Ersan Ilyasova, or Luc Richard Mbah a Moute if the team decides to go small, as the most probably starters at power forward. Brockman would probably serve as an all-purpose backup, thanks to his high rebounding efficiency and body width to compensate for a lack of height. I’d also be remissed if I didn’t mention Summer League stand out and first round pick Larry Sanders.
You can’t overstate the advantage of having a rotation potentially 12 players deep, but the true importance of that depth comes in the face of adversity. Thanks to Hammond’s ability to improve the overall talent of the Milwaukee Bucks’ roster, a month without Andrew Bogut to start the 2010-11 season would not be crippling to a team expected to make a run at the Central Division title.
We saw how different the team’s structure was last year when Bogut Joe Theismanned his arm, but the worst case scenario isn’t nearly as bad as it could be had he injured his legs or back. Even if Bogut’s setback is serious enough to keep him off the court for the start of the season, his conditioning program shouldn’t change and Bogut will be able to hit the ground running when he does return.
The bottom line is that the 2010-11 Milwaukee Bucks are much more prepared than they were a year ago for games without Andrew Bogut. I’d still prefer to see the big Aussie in uniform and starting on October 27, but I’d rather see him 100%% healthy than chance an additional setback or injury.
We are 49 days and counting to the start of the season, so there’s still plenty of time for some good news concerning Andrew Bogut’s rehab. Just be happy the Milwaukee Bucks aren’t forced to rely on one of the oldest players in the league, or an underachieving, overpaid benchwarmer in his absence.Follow paulmbanks