An “OK” Andrew Bought has underlined his all-round value to the Sydney Kings in a debut cameo, while fellow recruit Daniel Kickert hit the headlines for all the right reasons.
Playing in the Kings’ first pre-season game against the Japan national team in Sydney, former NBA centre Bogut finished his first game since January with four points, five rebounds and six assists.
He played for just more than 15 minutes on Friday night, all of it logged before halftime in the Kings’ 77-57 win against a team that included eight of the squad that beat Australia in a World Cup Asian qualifying match in June.
Bogut played almost the first nine minutes of the first quarter and the last six-and-a-half minutes of the second.
“I just wanted to go as hard as I could in the first half,” Bogut said.
“I felt good. The first quarter was a little tight and then broke that second wind and felt better so that was the plan from the start.”
The 33-year-old centre missed his first shot but connected with his two other attempts in the opening quarter, nailing a left-handed hook to open his account in Kings colours.
Asked to assess his performance, Bogut said it was “OK for my first hit-out in six, seven months”.
“I just wanted to get through unscathed and feel good and hopefully I wake up tomorrow morning and spring out of bed and have nothing that’s hurting and that will be a success for me.”
The former NBA No.1 draft pick showed his passing range, setting up successive second-quarter buckets, one with a classic back-door assist.
Kings coach Andrew Gaze rated Bogut’s performance as “really good” and purred over the passing and vision of his prize recruit.
“We said at halftime we’ve been saying at practice, if you get open he will get you the ball,” Gaze said.
“He’s got incredible vision, he’s got a great feel for the game.”
Sydney’s other big-man recruit, Kickert, top-scored with 24 points in his first hit-out since Australia’s infamous World Cup qualifier in the Philippines.
Kickert, who was suspended for five Asian Qualifying games by world governing body FIBA for his behaviour in that match, displayed his renowned sweet long-range shooting touch, dropping six of eight three-point attempts.
“He’s had (only) two weeks with us but he’s a pro,” Gaze said of Kickert.
Kings imports Jerome Randle and David Wear didn’t play on Friday after only arriving in Australia the day before.