SI.com: Sam Amick interviewed Andrew Bogut on the trade and on the tension that precipitated it. There was a lot of talk in the weeks before the trade deadline about tension between Bogut and Scott Skiles, but reading between the lines in these quotes, one wonders if his dissatisfaction stemmed more from management and the training staff.
SI.com: What toll did the injuries take on your relationship with the Bucks? They use the No. 1 pick on you and, as hard as it was for you, there’s obviously the other side of it where their centerpiece wasn’t available nearly as often as they’d hoped. It seemed like maybe both parties were just ready to move on.
Bogut: Well, the one thing I would say is that I came off an arm surgery when I hurt my elbow, and came back [for the 2010-11 season] and we still didn’t sign a backup big [man]. We let Kurt Thomas walk, and he had a great year for us. I can definitely question the way things were ran there, too, but I’m not going to get into the nitty-gritty. But I would’ve liked to have had a backup big. We haven’t had a backup big man [in Milwaukee] probably since Jamaal Magloire was there [in 2005-06]. And to be fair, we’ve had [power forwards] who play the [center spot], so that’s frustrating.
Obviously, [his injuries] take a toll on the franchise, too. There’s no doubt about it. That’s why I think it was like a civil, mutual divorce, where both parties are still friends. I’ve still got a lot of ties with people who work in that franchise, not only with the players and coaches, but the front office and ticket sales. I’ve got a lot of friends there and it definitely wasn’t bitter. I think it’s a sigh of fresh air for both sides.
SI.com: But how badly did you want out? When I hear that you’d made a “trade request,” I’m always wondering what level of urgency there is to get out.
Bogut: I think I was easy with it either way. It would’ve been nice to spend my whole career in one city, but I think at the same time it got to the point where they approached me with scenarios and I definitely didn’t rebut them. I wasn’t a guy who said, “No, that’s bull—-, I want to stay here.’ But I wasn’t the guy who said, “Get me the ‘F’ out of here. I hate it here.” I think it was as mutual as it gets. It was handled very professionally. It was just time, man. People were frustrated with my injuries, and we weren’t having a great year anyway, and I was frustrated with the way my injuries were treated by people there. I think the best thing for both parties was to go their own way.
SI.com: What do you mean by “the way your injuries were treated”?
Bogut: It’s always tough with injuries of this magnitude, because I can’t come out and say [anything]. After I hurt my elbow [in April 2010], people were like, “Why are his offensive numbers down?” [in the 2010-11 season when he returned]. I can’t come out and say, “Well, my elbow is totally screwed and I’m playing through a lot of pain.” But I would’ve liked a bit more from the franchise on that side of things, [for them] to come out and say, “He’s playing with a piece of bone loose in his elbow.”
I didn’t mind [criticism], but I think at the end of the season professionally it took a toll on me. I’m supposed to be one of the franchise players, so it wouldn’t have been a bad thing if they kind of had my back a little bit in that sense rather than me trying to come out and saying, “Well, my elbow is pretty screwed and I’m out here playing at 85 percent for this whole season.” But in hindsight, it’s one of those things that you learn from and move on from.
Brew Hoop: Steve von Horn examines the numbers on Ekpe Udoh. Golden State played significantly better with Ekpe on the court than with him off it. Expect him to develop into a defensive force under Scott Skiles, not because Skiles will teach Udoh — a player who already has mature defensive intuition — but because Skiles will do a better job of coach the players around Ekpe to play to his strengths.
Consistent contribution of timely help defense, effective pick-and-roll hedges, strong screens, disruptive shot challenges, solid box outs and high levels of awareness are things box scores aren’t equipped to record and minds aren’t build to reliably cross-reference or recall accurately over time. There is no doubt these hidden skills can compound in value over the course of a game and a season. Next time you watch a Bucks game, see how many times opponents risk running a pick-and-roll involving the man Udoh is defending (hint: they don’t do it often, and when they do it’s not very successful). Likewise, keep an eye on whether penetrating guards and forwards get quality angles to the basket or clean looks at the rim.
Sportsradio1250.com: (Go to 9:20 mark) Gery Woelfel, who accurately predicted the Andrew Bogut trade, talks about the potentiality of a Brandon Jennings trade this summer.
(Jennings’) name was brought up several times before the trade deadline last Tuesday. One guy flat out told me — another NBA executive — that he felt that the Bucks had an offer on the table for Jennings. And it was his feeling — now this is just one guy, of course — he felt that it was a legitimate possibility.