Andrew Bogut’s first NBA game in Milwaukee as an opponent will come on Tuesday with the Golden State Warriors centre looking a lot like the dominant big man the Bucks drafted first overall in 2005.
Bogut doesn’t have the offensive role he had in Milwaukee, where he averaged double figures in scoring six straight years, but has turned into a perfect fit in Golden State.
“It’s great to see him healthy and whole for the first time in a long time,” Warriors coach Mark Jackson said.
“He’s been the anchor to our defence.”
Bogut is averaging eight points this season, but more important has been his 10.2 boards a game. He also provides great protection around the rim – everything the Warriors hoped they’d get from Bogut once he was healthy after they traded Monta Ellis for him in March 2012.
His form has been impressive, but Bogut will be just as happy with his fitness.
After a series of injuries over the years, Bogut has played 35 of 36 games this season – missing one because of suspension.
Bogut confronts his old team now, knowing just what sort of reception to expect.
“A cold one. Freezing,” Bogut joked, referencing the low temperatures expected on Tuesday.
“I still have a special place in my heart for Milwaukee.
“I believe I still have a lot of fans there.
“There will be a little bit of boo birds, a little bit of both. That’s just the way it goes. I’m excited to go there and see people that I spent my first (seven) years of my career with.”
Teammate David Lee thinks Bogut is well suited to handle the situation.
“He’s a mature guy,” Lee said of Bogut.
“He’s a guy that I think out of anybody on the team will probably be the best at not letting any of that stuff bother him.
“He’s a hard-hat type of guy.”
Bogut wouldn’t deny that he’ll be fired up to get a win against his former team, owner of the NBA’s worst record at 7-26.
“There’s no doubt about it,” he said.
“But I still have the utmost respect for the franchise. They drafted me, they helped move my career.”
The 29-year-old is more worried about the Warriors’ nine-game winning streak – the longest streak he’s been a part of, the longest by the club in a single season since 1975 and two shy of matching the franchise record.
“I think within all this it’s more important to get the win just to keep the streak going than it is to beat Milwaukee,” Bogut said.