The Milwaukee Bucks Rumor Mill: Andrew Bogut or Andrew Bynum?

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According to a Thursday morning post by CBS Sports reporter Ken Berger:

“(Andrew) Bynum may or may not be on the Magic’s list of suitable replacements for Howard in a potential deal that also would have to include young players on rookie contracts and draft picks. The Bucks’ Andrew Bogut may be a better fit, a notion that has conjured speculation in the agent community of a three-team deal that would land Bynum in Milwaukee, Bogut in Orlando and Howard in L.A.”

On David Stern’s signal, NBA teams and free agents will unleash hell in about a week, so few eyebrows should be raised when three expensive centers are at the center (pun totally intended) of a seemingly crazy rumor.

Spending-wise, acquiring the 24-year-old Bynum (Bogut is currently 27 years young) would be a short-term increase in payroll expenses but a long-term money saving opportunity. Without adjusting for a 66-game schedule, Bynum’s 2011-12 salary is $3.05 million higher than Bogut’s ($12.1 million), and he carries a team option for $16.47 million in 2012-13. On the other hand, Bogut is set to make $13.15 million in 2012-13, and $14.2 million in 2013-14, the final year of his contract.

Based on the Bucks’ offseason moves before the lockout, it doesn’t appear that the team is heading into re-building mode. Rather, adding veterans like Stephen Jackson and Beno Udrih suggests Milwaukee wants to re-capture the magic of the 2009-10 season as soon as possible. If so, this would send the message that Andrew Bynum gives the team a better chance to win immediately than Bogut.

This whole debate (or lack thereof) boils down to sacrifice. With Bynum, you sacrifice defensive skills and leadership for a boost in scoring and athleticism. With Bogut, you have a lower chance of hitting triple digits regularly, but you’ll get a few extra possessions each night from directional blocks, as well as an interior bouncer that treats the painted area like it’s the VIP section of a Miami night club.

Scoring

Historically, Andrew Bynum is far and away a better offensive center than Andrew Bogut. His .90 points per possession in post-up opportunities a year ago were well above Bogut’s (.78), and his field goal percentage on those shots was a tick under 4% higher, according to MySynergySports. Bynum has posted four consecutive seasons of 20+ PERs, and has averaged 15.5 points per 36 minutes to Bogut’s 14 pts/36 minutes in his career.

Bogut’s career-best true shooting percentage (58.6% in 2008-09) was still .7% worse than Bynum’s lowest showing as a regular role player/starter (59.3% in 2006-07). Bogut also has never played with the same physicality under the hoop as Bynum, and more often relies on finesse post moves instead of going hard to the rack.

Passing/Rebounding

Outside of the scoring realm, both centers have identical total career rebounding percentages (16.7%), with Bogut edging Bynum in defensive rebounds (24% to 22.2%) and Bynum winning the offensive comparison (10.9% to 9.8%). However, Bogut is considered one of the better passing centers in the game (12% to 7.4% assist percentage), and plays with much more control and maturity.

Defense

There’s no question which Andrew is best in this category. Bogut edged Bynum out in allowed points per possession in nearly every defensive situation last season (isolation, P&R roll man, spot up). Bynum did hold a .74 to .81 advantage over Bogut in defending post ups, but having both arms at your disposal makes it easier to play tighter defense against physical forwards/centers. Bogut was also much better at creating offensive possessions out of defensive stops in 2010-11 (12.6% to 5.3% defensive turnover percentage).

Andrew Bogut’s value as a player is increased exponentially when his on-court leadership is taken into account. Over the past three years, Bogut has truly been in the Gorilla Glue that holds the Bucks’ defense together. An opposing team’s willingness to work the ball inside is clearly visible when Bogut is absent from the court, and although Andrew Bynum is a decent defensive center, the Lakers have proven time and time again that they can get by with Bynum wearing a GQ-worthy suit at the end of the bench.

If Andrew Bogut’s arm is truly healed like he (and the Bucks brass) claims, he could very well render this debate moot by finishing that half step he took in 2009-10 towards becoming an elite, well-rounded center. There are a lot of health-based question marks surrounding both players, but for now, Bogut’s importance to the Bucks’ defensive scheme should be a strong enough argument to close the door on any push to bring Andrew Bynum to Milwaukee.

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Topics: Andrew Bogut, Bucks Trades, Milwaukee Bucks, Scott Skiles

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