Ken Berger reported today that there has been some speculation among agents regarding a three way trade that would send Dwight Howard to the Los Angeles Lakers, Andrew Bogut to the Orlando Magic and Andrew Bynum to the Milwaukee Bucks.
Go find the pieces of your head and put it back together like one of those fancy 3D jigsaw puzzles of the world.
This sounds like one of those crazy agent scenarios far too broad and wild to ever come true, but it also might be the very first time a semi-plausible deal has involved Bogut leaving Milwaukee. By semi-plausible, of course that means there is a player returning to the Bucks who has at least enough appeal to make one want to think about what it would be like if he stepped into Bogut’s role.
The last time we saw Andrew Bynum, he was a shirtless, lonely man walking off the court and into the locker room at the American Airlines Center. Fans were ravenously jeering him and Mavericks players had to be restrained from attempting to even the score with him after he inserted his burly forearm into the elfish chest of a mid-air J.J. Barea.
So I’m not so certain a trade that brought him to Milwaukee for long time center and almost All-Star Bogut would go over so well with the fans of a franchise always swimming in the shallow end of the public appeal pool. But that’s not a reason to avoid a trade for a guy.
There are better reasons for that.
Bynum miss the first five games of this season due to a suspension for the aforementioned leveling of Barea and after he returns, he’ll likely find the eyes of referees everywhere trained upon him at all times. A close eye and his historically temperamental manner could prove to be a dangerous combination over the course of the next couple of seasons.
Beyond that, Bynum hasn’t exactly been a picture of health, even when compared to the oft-injured Bogut. Bynum has played an average of just 55 games over six NBA seasons, 11 fewer than Bogut has averaged.
Of course, Bynum has without question been a more consistent offensive performer throughout his career. Despite his size and strength, Bogut has been more of a finesse performer around the hoop, often settling for hook shots and quick layups. It’s not that Bogut isn’t very good at these shots, he’s excellent actually, it’s that even the most talented of finisher would struggle to finish those shots at a high percentage all the time.
That’s why Bogut, touch and all, has only once shot better than 56% in his career while Bynum has eclipsed that mark every year except for 18-year-old rookie season. Over the course of their respective careers, Bogut has made 63.7% of his shots at the rim, while Bynum has connected on 70.2% of his.
Authority at the rim on offense though doesn’t always translate to the defensive side of the ball. Bogut, while not nationally recognized as such, is one of the best defensive players in the NBA. In addition to leading the league in blocked shots per game last season, two seasons ago he ranked second in the NBA in total charges taken. He’s a complete defensive force and the centerpiece of one of the finest defensive teams in the league over the past two seasons.
It’s not that Bynum is a terrible defender. Bynum allowed .86 points per possession last season and was a good post-up defender, actually better than Bogut according to MySynergySports, allowing just .74 points per post-up possession (Bogut allowed .81 in the post). But he isn’t the vocal organizer of a defense. Bogut’s awareness is a huge advantage to the Bucks. Watching him on defense is like watching the guard perched on top of a prison wall. He’s watching everything and directing his teammates constantly. If anyone breaks out towards the basket, Bogut will be shooting them down.
And that’s what it comes down to. It’s about the fit, not about the individual talent. Maybe Bynum is a more talented overall basketball player, but he certainly wouldn’t be a better fit for the Bucks as currently constructed, and that’s without even taking into account Bogut’s near unprecedented embrace of the city of Milwaukee.
If Milwaukee wants to maintain the defensive identity they have spent the last few seasons cultivating, getting rid of their centerpiece would sure be a funny way of going about that.
- Gery Woelfel writes that the Bucks reached out to Caron Butler, but most outlets are not listing the Bucks as a realistic landing spot for him, as neither ESPN nor Yahoo! mention the Bucks as teams to watch with regards to the Mavericks swingman. Woelfel also expects Ersan Ilyasova to show up when the Bucks head to camp, despite rumors of his unhappiness and desire to play in Europe this season.
- Scott Skiles tells Charles F. Gardner that this season is a critical one for the Bucks.
Jeremy Schmidt writes the Milwaukee Bucks blog Bucksketball.com. Follow him on Twitter and become a fan on Facebook.