The son of an Australian auto mechanic, Bucks rookie center Andrew Bogut likes to spend his spare time customizing cars. "Nothing big," says the 7-foot, 245-pound Bogut, whose current ride is a 2006 Pontiac GTO. "Just interiors and wheels and stuff like that."
Milwaukee fans are hoping that he provides a much more extreme makeover to their team, which hasn't had a decent pivot since Moses Malone in 1993. Bogut, who was last season's college Player of the Year at Utah and the No. 1 pick in the June draft, has the tools: He can score with his back to the basket, handle the ball from the high post, run the floor, pass and block shots. Asks point guard T.J. Ford, "How many big guys can do all those things?"
Bogut will have to learn to play NBA defense, but he seems to have the maturity to handle a steep learning curve. This is a 20-year-old who showed up for his predraft interview with the Bucks dressed in a suit and tie and carrying a résumé. "Best interview of anybody I've ever had with the Bucks," says U.S. Senator Herb Kohl, the team's owner since 1985. "Great questions. Great answers. Very impressive. When he left, I said, 'That guy's a winner.'"
Even after signing a $26 million rookie contract, Bogut didn't go on a wild spending spree. He bought his parents a pair of Holdens and took a three-week vacation along the Adriatic Sea in Croatia with a friend. He spent the rest of the summer in Australia working out four hours a day with a personal trainer and adding 10 pounds to his lanky frame. "I know it's a big jump," Bogut says about making the transition to the NBA. "You've got to be ready or guys are gonna hand it to you." --Marty Burns
Enemy Lines An opposing team's scout sizes up the Bucks
"I want to see how Terry Stotts does after he's put in his own system with his own staff. He didn't have that luxury when he took over for Lon Kruger in midseason a couple of years ago in Atlanta. Will he try to create the kind of 'organized chaos' that he learned from his mentor, George Karl? If the team is winning, that kind of system earns you congratulations, but if the team is losing, then it looks simply disorganized, which is how Stotts's Hawks looked too many nights.... I question giving a max contract to Michael Redd, who scores a lot of points when the games don't matter. He's a quick-release, catch-and-shoot guy, which means he's often going up with his shot before he has time to consider whether a better shot is available for a teammate.... What's this I hear about Bobby Simmons playing some power forward? I guess it could work against some small lineups. Simmons is a terrific team player who will instantly become the leader of their locker room.... Joe Smith was better two years ago when he had bigger frontline guys around him. He's a 30-year-old who expends a lot of energy to work the offensive glass and overcome the bigger power forwards. A lot will depend on whether Andrew Bogut and Dan Gadzuric can stay on the floor so that Smith doesn't have to play center."
There hasn't been a Bucks center who has averaged double digits in scoring since Frank Brickowski finished with 15.2 points per game in 1993--94.
Projected Starting Lineup with 2004--05 statistics
Record: 30--52 (13th in East)
Points scored: 97.2 (15th in NBA)
Points allowed: 100.2 (20th)
Coach: Terry Stotts (first season with the Bucks)
Andrew Bogut (R)
6.5 ppg2.4 rpg0.62 spg40.2 FG%30.9 3FG% F TONI KUKOC 5.6 ppg 3.0 rpg 0.74 spg 41.0 FG% 36.2 3FG%
NEW ACQUISITION (R) Rookie (college stats) *2003--04 stats