Boomers can bounce back from Bogut blow

John Davidson Roar Guru

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    NBA star Andrew Bogut will not play for Australia at the upcoming London Olympics, but all is not lost for the Boomers.

    The Golden State Warriors centre announced on Twitter yesterday that he would miss London to get his ankle “cleaned out via arthroscopic surgery”, not leaving him with enough time to be fit for the Games.

    Bogut tweeted: “Shattered thinking about missing the 2012 Olympics. They truly are a life changing experience and something that you will always remember.”

    Losing Bogut is a blow, no doubt. A big one.

    The 27-year-old was the number one pick in the 2005 NBA draft, and has had a successful but, at times, injury affected NBA career since then.

    But because of his time in the NBA, and major injuries such as a dislocated right elbow and broken right hand in 2010, his appearances for Australia have been limited in recent years.

    So limited in fact that Boomers coach Brett Brown has never been able to call on Bogut since taking the top job in 2009. Bogut would also hardly be match fit and firing coming into London.

    The Boomers have learned to play without Bogut in the past three years, and for a change, have a lot of depth in the centre position.

    There is Aleks Maric, the 2.11m tall 27-year old who plays with Panathinaikos in Greece. Maric was an All-Euroleague First team member in 2010 and named Serbian Cup MVP in the same year.

    Then there is Nathan Jawai, the former NBL and NBA player who is now with Russian side UNICS Kazan. ‘Baby Shaq’ is 2.08cm tall and can play both power forward and centre.

    There is also David Anderson, another who has had stints in the NBL, NBA and Europe, and can both play both the four and five-spot. And backing these threw up are Power Electronics Valencia centre AJ Ogilvy, Ikaros Kallitheas centre Aron Baynes and 2.19m Perth Wildcat player Luke Nevill.

    A difference from the 1990s, this Boomer team has serious size and height to call on. And not only size but skill and talent as well.

    Although none of these players are a like-for-like replacement for Bogut, the talent pool is deep enough to recover. And most of them have already played at an Olympics or World Championships before. They have a good bond as a team, and are a tight group who puts a premium on fitness and defence, as Boomers coach Brett Brown told me last month.

    All of the Australian team will need to lift, not just the big men, to replace Bogut’s influence. But it is possible and with shining lights in the Boomer backcourt like Trail Blazer Patty Mills and St Mary’s of California guard Matt Dellavedova, we have hope. Thrown in Matt Nielsen, Brad Newley, David Barlow and Joe Ingles, and it is a strong squad.

    Brown has already flagged a different style the team will now play without Bogut, predicting a faster and more up-tempo game.

    “The group that we have has been fantastic and, ironically, because Andrew has not been a part of the group in recent years, in an unusual way, it will help us as it has forced us to get used to playing without him.

    “It has allowed us to build a core group of players that have played at a high level of international competition, the 2010 World Championship and most recently at the FIBA Oceania Olympic Qualifying series against New Zealand. This has enabled us to have consistency over those three years that Andrew was not a part of us.”

    A lot will depend on the draw the Australian team is handed for London. Avoiding the likes of the US and the European giants would be key.

    But with a tight, experienced team that won’t rely on one star and will battle for every result, these Boomers won’t go down without a fight.

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    The Crowd Says (13)

    • April 24th 2012 @ 1:22pm
      Lewis said | April 24th 2012 @ 1:22pm | ! Report

      Patty Mills aint a Blazer, He’s a spur…

    • Roar Guru

      April 24th 2012 @ 2:28pm
      John Davidson said | April 24th 2012 @ 2:28pm | ! Report

      Apologies Lewis, well spotted. Should have said former Trail Blazer.

    • Columnist

      April 24th 2012 @ 2:34pm
      Ryan O'Connell said | April 24th 2012 @ 2:34pm | ! Report

      The Boomers can turn a negative into a positive. Whilst they’d much prefer to have the services of Bogut, as you mentioned, they can no play more uptempo, which, with the athletes we have, is a good thing.

      I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Boomers play full and half court presses in defence, and then get out and run on turnovers. They’ve got some good speed, but not at the sacrifice of size.

    • April 24th 2012 @ 6:10pm
      Johnno said | April 24th 2012 @ 6:10pm | ! Report

      I would argue Andrew Bogut is our greatest athlete of all time, in line with Don Bradman.
      To be just about the no 1 centre in a sport like basketball is phenomenal.
      Far more people now play basketball than played cricket in Don Bradman’s time.
      And he was the no 1 draft pick in the NBA. Players like Shaq, get that. Micheal Jordan was not event he no 1 draft pick , Sam Bowie was.

      • Roar Guru

        April 24th 2012 @ 11:46pm
        peeeko said | April 24th 2012 @ 11:46pm | ! Report

        jordan was 3, bowie 2. number 1 was hakeem olojuwan

        • April 24th 2012 @ 11:57pm
          Johnno said | April 24th 2012 @ 11:57pm | ! Report

          Wow the twin towers of houston him and the other dud can’t remember. Bowie ended up being a injury riddled flop.

      • April 26th 2012 @ 12:47pm
        mushi said | April 26th 2012 @ 12:47pm | ! Report

        Bogut up there with Bradman? Wow

        So the most statistically dominant sports person of all time versus a one time 3rd team all NBA centre?

      • August 8th 2012 @ 2:20am
        Mitch said | August 8th 2012 @ 2:20am | ! Report

        Just… No!

    • April 24th 2012 @ 8:33pm
      Aljay said | April 24th 2012 @ 8:33pm | ! Report

      Would love to see Pat Mills in the open court, it would suit his game to a tee, but think if we can’t do better than Matt Dellavedova we might be in trouble. I like the guy, but would have thought the Olympics a stretch too far.

    • April 25th 2012 @ 3:16am
      Johnno said | April 25th 2012 @ 3:16am | ! Report

      Boomers are lucky in losing Bogut we have genuine centre depth.

      Nathan Jawal has played in the NBA, and a few other big men around too, David Anderson, Matt Neilson, and a bloke his 1st name is Luke he is good too., and a few other big men too.

      • April 26th 2012 @ 1:01pm
        Luc said | April 26th 2012 @ 1:01pm | ! Report

        Agreed. Despite Bogut’s loss and the obvious drawbacks, it is not in the front court where the Boomers will struggle. The quality players the article highlighted demonstrate this. Anyone who saw the way Maric, Baynes and Ogilvy monstered the Tall Blacks last year will see that size is not an issue at present (and that series sweep was without David Andersen and Nathan Jawai – the two most likely starters at the four and five positions come Olympic time). What that series demonstrated was the lack of depth at point guard and the very limited outside shooting. Our big mongrel bruisers will be useless unless Ingles, Newley et al can hit from outside.

        So yes, Bogut’s loss is big. No doubt. But alternatively, if Patrick Mills was also lost our boys would be in serious dire straits. His loss would be felt far more acutely. Fingers crossed on that, particularly with Mills’ great form since returning to the NBA.

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