Bad Back Again Raises Questions Of Bogut’s Durability

It’s only a matter of time, sadly, before someone – either mistakenly or pointedly – refers to Golden State’s ailing Australian center as “Sam Bogut.”

As in Sam Bowie, as in the NBA big man whose career is defined more by his draft position and a series of hobbling leg injuries than the 10.9 points and 7.5 rebounds he averaged across 511 games and 10 seasons.

There was no Michael Jordan in the 2005 draft that saw Andrew Bogut selected as the No. 1 pick overall, but there was Chris Paul (No. 4). And Deron Williams (No. 3). And, deeper in, guys like Danny Granger (No. 17), David Lee (No. 30), Ersan Ilyasova (No. 36) and Monta Ellis (No. 40).

Bogut’s production in eight NBA seasons has surprassed Bowie’s – but not by all that much (12.5 ppg, 9.3 rpg). And in durability, the 7-foot native of Melbourne has only the slightest of edges: 52.5 appearances per season to Bowie’s 51.1.

So if 80 percent of life is showing up, as Woody Allen said long ago, then Bogut is putting the “aww” in Aussie the same way Bowie put the blue in Kentucky bluegrass.

The latest setback in Bogut’s injury-riddled career came Friday, when he was termed “out indefinitely” with back spasms and missed Golden State’s home overtime victory against San Antonio. The spasms in Bogut’s mid-back area began after he played in back-to-back games Tuesday and Wednesday for the first time in 13 months. After playing 15 unproductive minutes at Utah in the front end, he lasted 29 minutes back home against Phoenix, contributing seven points, 11 rebounds, five assists and three blocks.

By Friday morning, though, he was getting an MRI – something with which he and his former team, the Milwaukee Bucks, became all too familiar when Bogut missed more than half the 2008-09 season with a back stress fracture. He had minor back issues in 2009-10 and again last season.

Bogut’s inability to get and stay on the court, brutally frustrating to him, already has swamped his NBA resume and reputation. From the back issues to the gruesome arm and wrist injuries he suffered in an April 2010 fall to last season’s microfracture ankle surgery, he missed 126 of 534 with Milwaukee, 106 of those in his last three-plus seasons there. Since going to Golden State last March with Stephen Jackson in the trade for Ellis, Ekpe Udoh and Kwame Brown, Bogut has played just 12 times in 82 games.

His contributions have been meager this season, his challenge in assimilating to the Warriors’ system – and teammates to him – considerable; Golden State was 6-6 in Bogut’s 12 games vs. 26-17 without him.

And as this season’s trade deadline passed Thursday, there was ominous talk that, by the same time next season, Bogut’s greatest contribution to Golden State might be his $14 million expiring contract.

It’s a shame, because Bogut had stretches of true dominance with the Bucks and was headed toward an All-Star breakthrough when he got nudged from behind by Amar’e Stoudemire late in 2009-10 – that was Milwaukee’s “Fear The Deer” year – and landed all wrong. He never regained that form, never stayed on the floor long enough to get there, and at 28 might be too risky for teams to consider at top dollar.

Speaking of dollars, it’s worth comparing the cost of Bogut’s output with Ellis’ since the trade in which they were the principal players. Since the deal on March 13, 2012, Bogut has scored 85 points for the Warriors, grabbed 78 rebounds, dished 28 assists, had four steals, blocked 19 shots and played 270 minutes. Ellis has scored 1,340 points, grabbed 278 rebounds, had 416 assists, picked 128 steals, blocked 33 shots and logged 2,722 minutes.

Break that down according to each man’s current annual salary – Bogut at $13 million, Ellis at $11 million – and the Bucks’ bargain in that GM John Hammond-engineered trade looks overwhelming.

Golden State’s cost per stat: $152,941 per point, $166,667 per rebound, $464,286 per assist, $3.25 million per steal, $684,210 per block and $48,148 per minute.

Milwaukee’s cost for Ellis: $8,209 per point, $39,568 per rebound, $26,442 per assist, $85,938 per steal, $333,333 per block and $4,041 per minute.

That’s value that Bucks owner Herb Kohl has to be pleased about. And costs that has to have the Warriors wondering with Bogut’s latest veer into the trainer’s room.


  1. SHAQKOBE says:

    waive BOGUT to Phoenix Suns…
    Doctors are great rehabbing the player their… just like Grant Hill

  2. JasO says:

    Steve Aschburner… The bloke is INJURED. Its not like he’s out there every game and just playing badly. Putting is stats up in dollar form when the poor guys is still working hard to get back on the court is pretty low.
    Bogut, your not my favorite player but I am a dubs supporter and an Aussie. Don’t listen to this bloke, I know that noone iwould be more angry and frustrated with your injuries than you! Get better and get back out there, mate!!

    Go Dubs!

  3. Duv says:

    This guy doesn’t have the work ethic to be an NBA player. Enough said

  4. jorj says:

    he should lose some weight, so that his frame wouldn’t have too much pressure. maybe he’d be healthier if he was lighter…

  5. Gio says:

    Honestly, I still stand by this trade, I love Monta Ellis as much as the next guy, but we’re doing completely better without him and although Andrew Bogut has yet to be 100% this season, we are in the playoff race. I mean we might have gotten the worse end of the deal, but if you look at it in the aspect of where we’re placed, the Bucks are two games under .500, although are in the eighth seed, while the Warriors are 10 games over .500. I do hope Andrew Bogut gets better though, anything less than him under 100%, I feel like will hold back the Warriors because he hasn’t been able to get his offensive game off like his usual self when he’s not 100%. It honestly is not that much of a setback with him not playing seeing as how we are still playing well.

  6. greg438 says:

    Mac is spot on. It would be great if Bogut could play consistently, especially when Golden State plays teams with a big front line, but there really has been a huge upside to them based on trading Ellis. Their offense flows much more cohesively and, at least statistically, they play better defense than last year, even with Bogut out of the lineup. I am huge Ellis fan, but the W’s just play better as a team without him.

  7. David Naylor says:

    Got to feel sorry for the big fella, hope to see you back on the court soon cause you are a very talented player. Get well soon

  8. GSW Man says:

    I say don’t resign him and go for Big Al in the offseason with the 14 million freed up from Bogut’s expiring contract.

  9. Mac says:

    The truth is gsw didn’t want monta ellis, they wanted to clear the roster spot for klay so A)they had a bigger 2 guard B) they could make steph curry the primary ballhandler and C) they could put a pure shooter on their roster. So, while Bogut isn’t playing getting rid of ellis wasn’t necessarily a negative. Wait and see what comes of Bogut or his replacement.

  10. flamar says:

    how the hek was this guy first pick?

  11. jonathan5cd says:

    Hoopster, im glad youre enjoying another sub 500 season from your team. Enjoy Monta Ellis and Jennings project… seems to be working just fine wouldnt you say. so THANK YOU THANK YOU Milwakee.

  12. Pokie says:

    I like the way the NBA has the cuddly old guy do the hatchet jobs. Research all those stats yourself?

  13. Hoopster says:

    I’m a huge Bucks fan, and I live in Milwaukee, but this guy was ALWAYS hurt playing here. I was hoping some team would pick this disaster, I mean future player up. THANK YOU Golden State! Monta Ellis for Bogut…again….THANK YOU Golden State!

    • specialfriedrice says:

      Hate to spoil your party sunshine…but Monta will not be staying in MIL especially after Jennings gets a big contract…those two are a terrible back court combo…

    • slider821 says:

      We (GSW fans) thank you wholeheartedly in return, good riddence to the 7-21 chucker who plays no defense. I’d rather have a player sitting out on the bench than Monta in the game getting burned on defense every play.

      All those $/stat reference, being rid of Monta’s horrible defense: Priceless.

  14. Tim says:

    Regardless of these dollars per stat & Bogut injury woes, GSW is still winning this trade as they are a top 6 seed playoff team in the hotly talented West whereas Milwaukee are still mediocre, however much improved, in the weak east. Whilst yes, Bogut may not be responsible for this, everybody knows in the NBA, the knowledge that a solid player is coming back seems to drive teams… See Chicago.

  15. Fitz says:

    The warriors play better without him. He slows them down and is far from being any significant contributor. I don’t know what he was doing for the time he was out but out wasn’t working out because he is very out of shape. It was a dumb trade from the start. nobody with a brain trades away talent for injury. They would do better by keeping him off the court the rest of the season and trade him away the first chance they get. If they try to get another big man, they need to get someone healthy who can move.

  16. Allen Iv3rson says:

    Don’t be discouraged by the haters Bogut, It ain’t easy keeping that huge frame free of injuries, get well and come back and play like a beast!! btw can someone hire me please? im gettin tired of crossing over amateurs. #NoD-League