Andrew Bogut’s elbow was not right last season, and it showed. He shot 1.4 fewer shots per game and made a lower percentage of them. Where it was really evident was the free throw line, where his shooting percentage dropped from 62.9 percent down to 44 percent.
He went back under the knife after the season and told Hoopshype that his elbow feels much improved now.
It’s good. It’s much better. I had to get surgery again at the start of April. The Bucks told me to stop playing and have surgery. It’s not totally pain free, but it’s much, much better than last season. I’m training and shooting in the last month and I’m very happy with where I’m now, but there’s still much more to do.
Bogut suffered a gruesome elbow injury near the end of the 2010 and said that after surgery he did not shoot a basketball all of last off-season. His first shots were the first day of training camp. Which starts to explain what happened to his shooting percentages.
With Stephen Jackson in the fold the Bucks are going to be an interesting team next season. Their defense was good last season, if they can keep that but improve the offense they become dangerous. But how far they go will depend more on how Bogut and Brandon Jennings step up their offensive games, something we expected last season but didn’t see. The Bucks could be a team that surprises some people.
Andrew Bogut’s shot has not been right this season. He shot 57.7 percent two years ago, 52 percent last season, then 48.3 percent this season.
It’s all about his elbow, the one that bent in a way god never intended late last season. Bogut is still finishing at the rim at a very good 62.2 percent (was 65.2 percent last season) according to Hoopdata. But from 3 to 9 feet out he is shooting just 39.9 percent, down from 51 percent two seasons ago. His free throw percentage dropped from 62.9 percent last season to 41.6 percent this season.
He can’t fully extend his arm because of that elbow, and it has affected his shot. His touch.
So this summer he is going to get surgery to scope out that elbow and clean up what one would imagine is a lot of scar tissue inside, Bogut told the Journal Sentinel.
“I want to have it straight away just to get a head start on the rehab and get back in the gym,” Bogut said. “I want to shoot the basketball a lot this summer. The more time I can get out on the floor working on my shot, the better.
“Whenever the season ends, hopefully the next day or two after, get it out of the way. Spend a week in Milwaukee and then fly back to Australia.”
A return of the old Bogut (and the previous year’s John Salmons) would go a long way to making the Bucks a playoff team that others want to avoid again.
Andrew Bogut was cleared to play by doctors, but since has missed the three preseason games the Milwaukee Bucks have played due to swelling and soreness in his surgically repaired right arm and hand. Which is not a shock, when you thing back to the gruesome injury he suffered last April.
Bogut also is realizing he may not be right for a lot longer and will have to play through the pain this season, as he told the Journal Sentinel.
“I’m just trying to be a little careful before the real season starts,” he said. “I’d like to start practicing probably this week, but I they said it would be about seven… think it’ll probably be another to 10 days from when it first happened.
“The elbow, I won’t be 100%, so I’ll have to play through… finger, everything the pain through the season. Even once it gets better, I’m still going to be 90 percent for the year or 85 percent. I don’t have my mobility and flexibility like I should, but I just have to adjust to it.”
Bogut is such a focal point of the Bucks offense that 85 percent of him is a hit to their offense. But where the Bucks need him more is on defense patrolling the paint and protecting the rim.
The question with major injuries is often as much mental as physical — can Bogut not be tentative and play with the same energy he did before? We don’t know the answer to that, we may not until the season starts. At the earliest.
Meanwhile Bogut has plenty of company on the bench — John Salmons, Corey Maggette, Carlos Delfino and Bogut’s backup Jon Brockman all sat out the team’s most recent preseason game. That’s a lot of things that have to get right before the games matter.
When you think back to just how gruesome Andrew Bogut’s elbow injury was, the fact that rehab has had setbacks and he could be out longer than he hoped should be a surprise.
Bogut did a television interview in his native Australia (which was transcribed over at the Real GM forums and was found by CBSSports.com’s Facts and Rumors blog) in which he said there have been issues and he could miss the start of the season.
“It’s getting there, frustrating. Just in Europe, doing physio twice a day. Doing physio every day since being back and you don’t see immediate results, with my elbow at least. It’s frustrating.
“I’m optimistic that I should be ready for the season but you never know with these things because of the nerve damage and so on, it’s on its own course.
“[It’s my decision] I’m one of those guys who will play through injury but if I’m not 100% for the season to start, there is no sense going into an NBA season at 85% ’cause we’re playing up to May.
“I’m still not even shooting the basketball. I shot the ball a little bit in Europe and got a bunch of fluid down in my elbow so I had to stop shooting. So at the moment I’m just lifting weights and conditioning so we’ll see what happens.”
It’s not ideal, but the Bucks don’t have a brutal schedule to start the season (only 4 of first 10 made the playoffs last season, the only real power they face is Boston once). If he is out, the Bucks can be fine for a while. Just signed free agent Drew Gooden will get some more run, and rookie Larry Sanders may get thrown into the fire a little faster, but he has game.
It may be frustrating, but Bogut needs to get it right and not rush back for games in November or December. With him playing well, the Bucks are a quality team, on the second tier in the East. A team nobody wants to see in the first round of the playoffs. He needs to get back but he needs to get back right.