It feels so bare that there is no basketball being played right now.
Due to COVID-19, the 2020-2021 NBA season was pushed back to December. Due to the shutdown, the season didn’t conclude until last October. With that said, it feels like an eternity without basketball even though we just witnessed the Los Angeles Lakers capture the title.
When thinking back in time, it also feels like an eternity ago that former No. 1 overall pick Andrew Bogut made his NBA debut. That’s right. November marks the 15-year anniversary of the former Australian basketball star making his entrance to the grand stage. Bogut is an Australian icon, but many may forget that he was a solid role player in the league for many years.
The New Face Of The Bucks
Today, the Bucks are in position to win an NBA title. The team traded for Jrue Holiday stats, signed Bobby Portis, and bring back the two-time MVP in Giannis. However, the Bucks weren’t always in title contention, and many thought that Bogut was going to change that 15 years ago.
After winning NCAA Player of the Year at Utah, Bogut made his highlight anticipated debut with the Milwaukee Bucks as the team played the Philadelphia 76ers on the road. After a 30-52, NBA experts picks did not see the Bucks as a contender in the league. However, the Bucks drafted Bogut with the No. 1 overall pick and thought this could be one of the quickest turnarounds for the franchise.
The Bucks had a young squad that was headlined by sharpshooter Michael Redd and a group of young ball players in their 20s. That featured TJ Ford, Bobby Simmons, and Mo Williams. On this fateful night, the Bucks had to stop future Hall of Famer Allen Iverson, Chris Webber, and a young Andre Iguodala, which is no easy task.
Tightly Contested Game
The Bucks began the Bogut era with a win in a hard fought contest. Redd was the hero for Milwaukee as he nailed a game-tying three-point shot with 1.6 seconds left to play on the clock. His shot sent the game to overtime and the Bucks dominated every aspect of the extra period to win 117-108. Bogut began his career with a win and Milwaukee was sent into a mood of jubilee.
Bogut played 37 minutes and contributed 13 points, four rebounds, and three blocks on a night where he shot 6-9. Bogut never was an “offensive force” but he was a ball to be reckoned with down in the paint on the defensive end. Redd led the Bucks with 30 points, while Iverson and Webber scored 35 and 32 points respectively.
A Slight Upgrade
The Bucks finished the season 40-42, which was a 10-game improvement from the previous season. Bogut played in all 82 regular season games and averaged 9.4 points and 7.0 rebounds per game. The Bucks qualified for the postseason, but were defeated by the Detroit Pistons in five games.
Since then, Bogut has become the face of basketball for Australia. Bogut left the NBA at one point to return to the NPL, where he was the league’s MVP with the Sydney Kings in 2019. Despite never making an All-Star game, Bogut was a critical part of the Golden State Warriors winning an NBA Championship in 2015. Two-time MVP Steph Curry cites Bogut as a key leader from that team. Today, the 35-year old is a free agent and last played for the Warriors in 2019.