Andrew Bogut's Season-Ending Injury Is Depressing, And Not Just For Bucks Fans

SB Nation's Mike Prada isn't a Bucks fan, but he's depressed about Andrew Bogut being out for the season. Here's why you should be too.

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Andrew Bogut Out For Season After Nasty Fall

If you saw Andrew Bogut's terrible, awkward fall against the Phoenix Suns last Saturday, then you shouldn't be surprised to read that Bogut will miss the rest of the season and the playoffs, according to Charles F. Gardner of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel. 

A source said early Sunday that Bogut suffered a dislocated right elbow, sprained wrist and broken right hand and would likely undergo surgery.

Kurt Thomas will likely start at center for the Bucks the rest of the way, as they try to avoid slipping lower than sixth place in the standings. 

Bogut may not be a household name to some, but this loss is incredibly significant for the Bucks. His impact on the game goes far beyond his traditional numbers (15.9 points, 10.3 rebounds). Bogut's an elite defensive center, averaging 2.6 blocks per game while anchoring one of the league's strongest defensive units. He doesn't just go for blocks either; he's second in the league in most charges taken and trails just Dwight Howard and Josh Smith in defensive "plays" (i.e. blocks+steals+charges). Offensively, the Bucks run the vast majority of their sets through Bogut in the post, thanks to his elite passing skills, his ability to score effectively with either hand and his mobility running pick and rolls. Without Bogut, an already below-average offense becomes simply dreadful. 

Make no mistake about it, Bogut may be as important to his team as any player in the league not named LeBron, Wade or Durant. If Dwight Howard gets injured, the Magic still have a solid backups in Marcin Gortat and Brandon Bass, as well as tons of perimeter firepower to work with. If Kobe Bryant gets hurt, the Lakers still have Pau Gasol. The Nuggets can survive a few games without Carmelo Anthony, the Spurs can live without Tim Duncan, the Jazz can deal with an injury to Deron Williams and the Suns, thanks to Goran Dragic's emergence, can march on without Steve Nash. The Bucks, however, rely so heavily on Bogut on both ends of the floor. He's simultaneously their best defensive player and best offensive player. Without him, they're a much, much worse team.

SB Nation's Bucks blog Brew Hoop agrees:

I usually don't let myself make grim predictions on par with Chicken Little, but with Bogut out for the forseeable future, the Bucks' sky has fallen.  With only six games left in the season, I would be shocked if the Bucks finished any better than 2-4.  And regardless of their first round opponent, Bogut's absence all but guarantees the Bucks being on the wrong side of a first-round sweep.  Maybe Atlanta's poor performance on the road could allow the team to steal one at the Bradley Center, but remember: Dan Gadzuric and/or Primoz Brezec will be playing more than a handful of minutes at the 5.  Almost as frightening as the injury itself.    

The saddest part about this is that there are still tons of NBA fans who don't understand Bogut's impact on the game. He plays in Milwaukee, hardly a major media market, and is overshadowed by his flashy rookie teammate Brandon Jennings. This isn't a bad thing, mind you, but it's a fact. Andrew Bogut just hasn't received anything close to the credit he deserves for leading the Bucks to this point.

The only way those people would have understood is by watching Bogut and the Bucks push either the Celtics or the Hawks in a seven-game series in the playoffs. Now, however, that can't happen, and Bogut will once again enter next season as arguably the league's most underappreciated player. For a number one overall pick that had previously been branded a disappointment, it's sad that a terrible injury will spoil his coming out party.

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