I was sitting at a bar late Saturday night when the news of Bogut’s season ending injury came over ESPN. They showed the highlight of the dunk versus the Suns, Amare undercutting him, then flashed a stat displaying other centers injury history. I could not hear the segment but could read the heading regarding centers and seasons missed due to injury. I must admit, it made me sick.
I am not going to lie, this sucks. Bogut was having his first truly impactful season. This year he has really blossomed on the defensive end and become a legit shot-blocker to go along with his very solid rebounding and positional defense. He was among the biggest reasons the team defense took another step forward this season. He also brought us Squad 6, which has been a great addition to the atmosphere at the Bradley Center.
In a league with so few legit centers outside of Dwight Howard, Bogut gave the Bucks something unique and was a very tough matchup. There is no way to really quantify how much he will be missed. Good luck in recovery Andrew and get ready for next year.
The rest of the team needs to move on. Us fans need to move on. Season long goals of reaching the playoffs can still be attained. Win at Chicago on Tuesday and the Bucks are in. Piece together a few more wins down the stretch and the Bucks can remain in the 6th spot in the playoffs and still avoid the Cavs or Magic in the first round.
The Bucks still have the shooters and defense to be a pain in the ass.
Finding Something Positive
To point to something as “glass is half full” from this injury we could look at the timing. If Bogut had been hurt a couple of months ago that would have been too long for the Bucks to hold ground in the playoff race, their frontcourt would have worn down. Kurt Thomas will likely get the most minutes due to the injury and there is just enough games left in the season for Skiles to put together some idea of a rotation to get the team acclimated. Thomas is old but by only getting the major minutes this late in the season he should have plenty in the tank to finish the regular season strongly and perform well in the playoffs.
If Thomas had seen a boost in minutes for a much larger number of games his age would have been a bigger factor, due to the injury ocurring so late in the season I think the negative of his age is mitigated.
Now, who else steps up in the frontcourt is anybody’s guess. There is Brezec who we have not seen much of or Gadzuric who nobody wants to see. The best strategy may be small ball.
I think the Bucks will get into the playoffs. I think the Bucks will keep the sixth seed. There is also a chance for Bill Simmon’s Ewing Theory to play in here. Although the Bucks have not had enough success in the last few years the theory could be in still exist. Best player is out, but the team rallies and outperforms expectations.
I do think the injury eliminates any chance of a run to the NBA Finals, but I truly believe the Bucks can still win a playoff series against the Celtics or Hawks.
The injury sucks, but not all is lost. Stay away from the ledge.