Andrew Bogut on Jennings, lockout and more

Milwaukee Bucks’ Andrew Bogut dunks against the New York Knicks in the first half during their NBA basketball game in Milwaukee, Wisconsin March 20, 2011. REUTERS/Darren Hauck (UNITED STATES – Tags: SPORT BASKETBALL)

Andrew Bogut spends part of the offseason in Croatia, which may seem odd since he’s from Australia. But he doesn’t like going from winter in the U.S. to winter in Australia, so he has an apartment in Croatia, which is where his grandparents are from.

Anyway, he spoke with HoopsHype about a wide-range of topics. Here’s his take on Brandon Jennings:

He had a very good first season and in the second he had an injury and it was a little up and down. But he’s a guy that’s a very, very hard worker. I definitely enjoy playing with him because I can see in the offseason and during the offseason how hard he works on his game. I don’t think people realize the work he puts in. Maybe they see him doing these tours with Under Armour and think he’s not working on his game, but he’s a very hard worker. He’s going to get better and better. You have to remember he’s still very young and his potential is huge.

Bogut and Jennings are the Bucks’ core, in that order, so the duo better learn to be effective with each other. They have shown flashes, but last year it was a real struggle to score, and that’s on them.

Bogut was asked about being slighted for an All-Star nod and here’s what he had to say:

I think this year I didn’t deserve it, but the previous year I was a little hurt about it. That’s just the NBA. Al Horford deserved to be in because his team had a much better record than us, but the previous year they put David Lee with a worse record than us… (Making the All-Star team) is one of those goal that you work towards and hopefully one day I will have my All-Star jersey.

Bogut also mentioned that he was shocked he didn’t make the All-Defensive 2nd Team, and I agree with him. I thought he was in the running for DPOY and he didn’t even get a 2nd Team nod. But like Andrew says, that’s the NBA.

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Who should win Defensive Player of the Year?

Milwaukee Bucks’ Andrew Bogut (R) defends against the New York Knicks’ Carmelo Anthony (L) in the first half during their NBA basketball game in Milwaukee, Wisconsin March 20, 2011. REUTERS/Darren Hauck (UNITED STATES – Tags: SPORT BASKETBALL)

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Dwight Howard certainly seems to be the consensus pick, but let’s think about this for a moment. What’s really the best way to judge which player has had the best year on the defensive end of the court?

I’m sure there are all sorts of advanced metrics that the teams/stat companies use that the general public are not privy to. There are only four player-by-player basic stats that are defensive in nature: steals, blocks, defensive rebounds and fouls. The first three are positive, and the last one is obviously negative. Whether a player steals or rebounds the ball, he’s ending the opponent’s possession. Not all blocks will end a possession — just look at Howard, who still insists on swatting balls into the stands instead of trying to direct them to his teammates — but there is the difficult-to-quantify “changing of shots” that goes unaccounted for, so blocks are still vitally important. Fouls give the opponent another possession or worse yet a pair of free throws. (Note: I would like to also use charges drawn, but for some reason Hoopdata hasn’t tracked that number this season.)

When I saw HoopsHype’s list of DPOY finalists, I noticed two names was missing — Andrew Bogut and Andre Iguodala. I thought Bogut deserved the DPOY last year, but he was instead rewarded with an All-NBA Third Team bid. Iguodala is one of the best perimeter defensive players in the game, but unfortunately for us that’s more based on reputation than (basic) statistics.

Let’s take a look at the league leaders in DTOT, which is my abbreviation for Defensive Total, which is simply the sum of steals, blocks and defensive rebounds, minus fouls. I’ve also included each team’s defensive efficiency (points allowed per 100 possessions) while the player is on the court along with each player’s Opponent Player Efficiency Rating. These last two stats were found at

1Dwight Howard10.121.342.403.310.56103.211.8
2Kevin Love10.710.620.372.09.67112.716.1
3Andrew Bogut8.020.722.583.37.98102.113.5
4Kevin Garnett7.721.350.772.17.7698.814.3
5Tim Duncan6.650.671.921.67.67102.815.9
6Blake Griffin8.790.770.543.07.05110.814.5
7Marcus Camby7.190.691.532.47.02108.114.5
8Josh Smith6.871.291.582.96.88105.916.9
9Zach Randolph7.840.840.332.36.68106.914.5
10Kris Humphries7.380.461.092.36.66110.915.2

First, notice that all 10 players on the list are big men. This is due to the way that defensive rebounding drives the DTOT stat. Perimeter defense is tougher to quantify for this reason.

Howard certainly has a strong case. He leads the league in DTOT by a fairly wide margin, and the guy in second place (Love) doesn’t do much in the way of blocks or steals. But look who’s sitting at #3 — Andrew Bogut. Of everyone on the list, Bogut has the second lowest defensive efficiency (next to KG) when on the court. He also holds his opponent to the second-lowest PER. Second to Howard, of course.

Wondering about Iguodala? He is #22 in DTOT, the fourth highest non-PF/C on the list after LeBron James (#11), Gerald Wallace (#14, but more of a PF) and Kevin Durant (#16). Iggy’s team defensive efficiency is a respectable 104.1 and his Opponent PER is an eye-popping 9.9, which is better than LeBron (11.4), Wallace (14.3 while in Charlotte) and Durant (12.2). He is also tied with Tim Duncan for the fewest fouls per game in the Top 30. Iggy has truly embraced his inner Scottie Pippen this season.

Interestingly, Landry Fields (#32), Dwyane Wade (#33) and Jason Kidd (#40) are the first three guards on the list, which is clearly dominated by big men due to the aforementioned defensive rebounding issue.

So does Dwight Howard deserve another DPOY? Probably. But there are other players like Bogut and Iguodala that deserve a few votes as well. This will likely be a landslide, but it shouldn’t be.

2010 Year-End Sports Review: What We Already Knew

Let’s be honest: Sports bloggers know everything. Just ask us. As part of our 2010 Year-End Sports Review, our list of things we already knew this year includes Brad Childress’ biggest fail, Wade Phillips’ demise in Dallas and John Calipari’s troubles. We also knew Kevin Durant was the next great superstar (who didn’t see that coming?), Roger Clemens is the ultimate windbag and that “Matty Ice” knows fourth-quarter comebacks. We should have gone to medical school…

Contributors: Anthony Stalter, John Paulsen, Paul Costanzo, Drew Ellis and Mike Farley

LeBron is a frontrunner.

We all were a little surprised that LeBron left Cleveland, but the writing was on the wall. Growing up, LeBron didn’t root for the local teams. He followed the Yankees, Bulls and Cowboys, which in the 1990s constituted the Holy Triumvirate of Frontrunning. He wore his Yankee cap to an Indians game and was seen hobnobbing on the Cowboy sidelines during a Browns game. He says he’s loyal, but he’s only loyal to winners…unless they only win in the regular season, of course.

July 08, 2010 - Greenwich, CONNECTICUT, United States - epa02241974 Handout photo from ESPN showing LaBron James (L), NBA's reigning two-time MVP, as he ends months of speculation and announces 08 July 2010 on ESPN 'The Decision' in Greenwich, Connecticut, USA, that he will go to the Miami Heat where he will play basketball next 2010-11 season. James said his decision was based on the fact that he wanted to play with Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh.

Brad Childress’ biggest flaw cost him his job in the end.

There were many reasons why the Vikings decided to fire head coach Brad Childress roughly a year after they signed him to a contract extension. One of the reasons was because he lost with a talented roster. Another was because he never quite figured out how to best utilize Adrian Peterson, which is a sin given how talented AP is. But the main reason “Chilly” was ousted in Minnesota was because he didn’t know how to manage NFL-caliber personalities. He didn’t know how to handle Brett Favre, which led to blowups on the sidelines and multiple face-to-face confrontations. He also didn’t have a clue how to deal with Randy Moss’ crass attitude, so he released him just four weeks after the team acquired him in a trade from New England. Childress was hired in part to help clean up the mess in Minnesota after the whole “Love Boat” scandal. But the problem with a disciplinarian that hasn’t first earned respect is that his demands fall on deaf ears. In the end, Childress’ inability to command respect from his players cost him his job. You know, on top of the fact that he was losing with a talented roster, he didn’t know how to best utilize Adrian Peterson, he…

Love him or hate him, George Steinbrenner will forever be one of baseball’s icons.

You may have hated his brash attitude, the way he ran his team or the way he conducted his business. You may even feel that he ruined baseball. But regardless of how you may have felt about him, there’s little denying that George Steinbrenner will forever be one of Major League Baseball’s icons. Steinbrenner passed away in July of this year. He will forever be a man known for helping revolutionize the business side of baseball by being the first owner to sell TV cable rights to the MSG Network. When things eventually went south with MSG, he created the YES Network, which is currently the Yankees’ very own TV station that generates millions in revenue. During his tenure, he took the Yankees from a $10 million franchise to a $1.2 billion juggernaut. In 2005, the Yankees became the first professional sports franchise to be worth an estimated one billion dollars. While many baseball fans came to despise the way he ran his team (mainly because he purchased high priced free agents with reckless abandon due to the fact that he could and others couldn’t), don’t miss the message he often made year in and year out: The Yankees are here to win. He didn’t line his pockets with extra revenue (albeit he generated a lot of extra revenue for his club) – he dumped his money back into the on-field product. Losing wasn’t acceptable and if the Bombers came up short one year, you could bet that Steinbrenner would go after the best talent in the offseason, regardless of what others thought of the approach. How many Pirates and Royals fans wish they had an owner with the same appetite for victory?

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Manu Ginobili hits game-winner against the Bucks [video]

My beloved Bucks, coming off of a surprising win in Dallas to snap the Mavs’ 12-game winning streak, gave the Spurs one hell of a run before Manu Ginobili hit this game winner at the buzzer.

The Bucks had a chance to take the lead, but failed to get a good look at the hoop. It’s a situation where Brandon Jennings has to create his own shot, but he ended up picking up his dribble and giving the ball to Luc Mbah a Moute, who tried to draw the foul on an airborne player.

Ginobili had 26 points, six rebounds and four assists in the win. Chris Douglas-Roberts (21 points) and Drew Gooden (20 points) led the Bucks in scoring, but it was Andrew Bogut (15 points, seven rebounds, four assists and SEVEN BLOCKS) who was the player of the game for Milwaukee. I sure hope he gets a long, hard look for the All-Star team, but Al Horford, Shaquille O’Neal, Roy Hibbert and Brook Lopez might have something to say about that. None of those players are the defensive presence that Bogut is, however.

Joakim Noah agrees to extension

Joakim Noah wasn’t happy with the Bulls’ $55 million offer, but Chicago upped the ante and it seems the two parties have agreed to an extension.

The deal is worth $60 million plus additional bonuses, Dan Fegan, one of Noah’s agents, told ESPN The Magazine’s Ric Bucher.

I compared Noah to Andrew Bogut in a previous post, and this contract sound a lot like the one Bogut signed two years ago. Bogut’s deal raised a few eyebrows then, but he has since developed one of the best two-way centers in the league, earning All-NBA 3rd Team honors last season in his best year as a pro.

Between this contract and their refusal to include him in a deal for Carmelo Anthony, the Bulls obviously value what Noah brings to the table. According to 82 Games, his net points (per 100 possessions) was +0.9 last season, while Bogut’s was +8.0. In three head-to-head matchups last year, Bogut averaged 22/14 on 52% shooting, while Noah posted 10/16 on 42% shooting.

I think $12 M+ per season for a defensive/rebounding specialist is steep, but maybe Noah will develop offensively in the same way Bogut did. The difference is that Bogut started with a pretty good post game and developed from there, while Noah’s current post moves are rudimentary at best.

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