The Bucks plan to call more plays for Bogut this season.
John W. McDonough/SI
The Bucks finished last season with 15 consecutive losses to Central Division opponents. That's the longest losing streak Milwaukee has had within its division in the franchise's history.
Record: 28-54 (14th in East) Points scored:99.7 (10th in NBA) Points allowed: 104.0 (27th) Coach:Larry Krystkowiak (first season with Bucks)
The No. 1 pick of '05 is bigger and wiser, but he still has a lot to prove. Just ask him
Many believe that Andrew Bogut has failed to live up to his potential after
being drafted No. 1 in 2005. One of those critics is Bogut. "That's
definitely fair enough," he says. "I feel like I have to give more." Still, the
7-foot Australian center has been one of the few constants on a team beset by
turmoil over the past 12 months -- from lingering injuries to starters Michael
Redd (knee), Bobby Simmons (foot, ankle) and Charlie Villanueva (shoulder); to
the March firing of coach Terry Stotts; to the failed attempt by first-round
pick Yi Jianlian to force a trade out of Milwaukee; to the contract squabble
that preceded the re-signing of free-agent Charlie Bell.
Though he played 148 consecutive games before being sidelined with a
left-foot injury last March, Bogut was maddeningly erratic: Only twice last
season did he score in double figures on more than three straight occasions; his
high was five in a row. But new coach Larry Krystkowiak expects him to deliver
more regularly this winter, reminding naysayers that Bogut would now be a rookie
had he completed his college eligibility at Utah. A former Bucks big man
himself, Krystkowiak believes he can increase Bogut's comfort on the court by
running more plays for him and by simplifying his pick-and-roll duties on
defense. "I'm expecting him to be a double double guy on a consistent basis,"
Krystkowiak says. "The big thing is his energy and his exuberance. When he plays
with the reckless abandon we know he can, he's Andrew Bogut. If he paces
himself, all of a sudden he loses his edge."
Bogut now even looks more the part of a dominant NBA big man, having traded
in his shaggy surfer locks for a close-cropped 'do and added 15 pounds of
muscle. "Mentally and physically he's a lot stronger, a lot wiser to the
league," Krystkowiak says. "He seems to be more comfortable in the
environment." -- Elizabeth McGarr