Today, November 28, 2017, happens to be my twentieth birthday. One of my most memorable birthdays was when my dad and I went to a Portland Trail Blazers game in January 2010. The Blazers’ opponent that day was the Milwaukee Bucks, a team that ended up winning 46 games that year with an unbelievably average roster. The star of the Bucks franchise that year was Andrew Bogut, the former number one draft pick. The Australian averaged a double-double in the 69 games he played in that ’09-’10 season.
After reading through the rosters at the game, I happened to notice that Bogut’s birthday: November 28, 1984. “Dad, look at this! We’ve got the same birthday!” I yelled happily.
“That’s cool, I’ve never heard of him,” said my dad, an avid basketball fan. “So, do you think Greg Oden will ever stay healthy?”
My dad wasn’t impressed. But I was! Sharing a birthday with an NBA number one draft pick was the seventh-grade sports nerd version of sharing a birthday with Michael Jackson!
The game was just like the Bucks franchise: dull. The Blazers led by twenty-six after three quarters without the likes of Nicolas Batum and Oden on the court that night. I still remember my arguments with my dad about how the Blazers should’ve draft Kevin Durant in the weeks prior to the 2007 Draft, but that’s a topic for another article.
My dad and I stuck it out for the whole game and watched the Bucks storm back and make the contest somewhat interesting. What caught my attention throughout the whole rally was the effort displayed by Andrew Bogut. He fought for every rebound and bullied the likes of LaMarcus Aldridge and Joel Przybilla in the low block. Bogut even swatted a few shots which made me a bigger fan of his game.
I followed his career closely as the years progressed because Bogut earned 3rd Team All-NBA honors for his play in ’09-’10 season. I went on to follow him for two more solid years in Milwaukee before he was shipped to Golden State in a package for Monta Ellis. The deal freed up playing time in Golden State for some baby-faced up-and-comer named Stephen Curry, but it also gave Bogut a much-needed change of scenery. He was the perfect complement to Curry and Klay Thompson as they grew into their roles. Bogut demanded respect in the post which forced teams to double-team him. This which allowed Curry and Thompson to shoot their way to a championship in 2015.
The Warriors parted ways with Bogut in 2016 to make room for Kevin Durant, and Bogut has bounced around the league since. Now he’s a bench player with the Lakers as he mentors their new wave of big men like Julius Randle and Larry Nance Jr.
So far, Bogut is seeing the least amount of playing time he has ever had with 8.2 minutes per game in 13 games this year with the Lakers. Bogut has never played less than 20 minutes per game, and it seems like the end is nearing.
He recently discussed coaching and possibly finishing his career in Australia in the NBL. It will be interesting to see how Bogut ends the year with the Lakers or elsewhere if traded.
(Top image from Getty Images and Mavs.com)