Posted: Wednesday June 29, 2005 5:02PM; Updated: Thursday June 30, 2005 12:15PM
Andrew Bogut's confidence should serve him well, but he has a long way to go before he can be mentioned with Luc Longley.
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A few scattered thoughts on pro basketball's next generation of millionaires, journeymen and gentlemen before the roomies hijack the tube for our weekly screening of The Real World: Austin:
The 2005 NBA Draft will be remembered not for its abundant point guard depth or its first non-teenage, NCAA-seasoned No. 1 pick in five years, but for its dizzying array of pinstripes. Mocha suits, charcoal suits, Carolina blue -- it didn't matter. I counted at least 10 guys at the Theater at Madison Square Garden Tuesday night who were guilty of paying a visit to Stu Scott's tailor.
Andrew Bogut was one of the few guys who kept the stripes confined solely to his tie, his bucking of this awful fashion trend making him a perfect fit for the Milwaukee Bucks with the first overall pick. Outside of his greasy mop, Bogut hadn't given me much reason to have an opinion on him one way or the other until yesterday morning, when his ill-conceived comments slamming former Bulls center and Aussie hoops legend Luc Longley reached the wires. (Let him who has won more titles than any member of Chicago's Ring Dynasty cast the first stone.) In a pre-draft news conference Monday morning in New York, Bogut declared himself "not as slow as Luc Longley. I can shoot better, I'm more competitive. So I think it's not even fair to bring that name up."
He's right, because comparing Bogut to Longley isn't a fair fight. Longley's got the advantage in seasons played (10 to 1), scoring average (7.2 to none), rebounds (4.9 to none) and assists (1.5 to none) -- all stats that pale in comparison to the ring count (3 to zilch). I can probably think of at least 15 centers (with careers living or dead) who would give three inches off the shin bones to switch careers with Longley. What's not to like about a fundamentally sound, 7-foot-2 center who was an exceptional passer out of the post, could shoot with his back to the basket and had range out to 18 feet on either baseline? He might have been the second best center to anchor the triangle offense under Phil Jackson (The Big Aristotle taking first honors, of course.) Meanwhile, Bogut (who has since apologized for his remarks) is going to a team with no coach, no system, and, potentially, no Michael Redd. I think Luc's legacy is safe.
The biggest Bogut moment came early in the broadcast when ESPN flashed a photograph of the Croatian-turned-Aussie center standing sentinel over the grave of Croatian hoops legend Drazen Petrovic and draped in Toni Kukoc's No. 7 Bucks road jersey (though the Waiter never looked better than in the red and black). I'm sure if a seismograph had been positioned directly above the headstone, it would have no doubt picked up faint traces of seismic activity underneath.