Dallas Mavericks: Andrew Bogut Provides Unique Big Man Skills

Oct 11, 2016; Dallas, TX, USA; Oklahoma City Thunder center Enes Kanter (11) guards Dallas Mavericks center Andrew Bogut (6) during the first quarter at the American Airlines Center. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 11, 2016; Dallas, TX, USA; Oklahoma City Thunder center Enes Kanter (11) guards Dallas Mavericks center Andrew Bogut (6) during the first quarter at the American Airlines Center. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports /

While Andrew Bogut is a great scorer and an excellent defender, it’s his playmaking skills that set him apart from past Dallas Mavericks centers.

The Dallas Mavericks have been weak at the center position for quite some time. Besides adding Tyson Chandler for the 2010-11 and 2014-15 campaigns, the team has had a tough time finding a big man to help usher in success.

Chris Kaman was gone after the 2012-13 season, Samuel Dalembert left after the 2013-14 season and Zaza Pachulia, who showed signs of life for the first half of the 2015-16 season, left after one year.

With the Mavs failing to acquire Hassan Whiteside in the offseason, they had to turn to other options, and one of those came in the form of Andrew Bogut.

Bogut, who played with the Milwaukee Bucks from 2005-12 and the Golden State Warriors from 2012-16, had to be traded away due to the Warriors adding Kevin Durant. The 7’0″ center later revealed that he would’ve asked “for a buyout” had he been traded to other teams that were in the mix for him.

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Since the Mavs began the preseason, we’ve gotten a sample of what Bogut will bring to the team in 2016-17, so let’s dive right in.

Scoring: While Bogut certainly isn’t the dynamic scorer he used to be with the Bucks, he’ll still put up somewhere between six and eight points a night and will occasionally give you a double-double. He likes to work down low and turn for hook shots or work his way inside and earn a gritty put-back. His scoring is an area that the Mavs would like for him to improve upon, but that’s not where they will get most of his talent from.

Defense: Bogut’s interior defense is one of the main reasons why the Mavs decided to make the move to acquire him. He has a career average of 1.6 blocks per game and has already showed off a few monstrous rejections early on in the preseason, with four blocks in two games.

Besides that, he does a good job at filling the lane and likes to move around a lot, whether it’s to contest shots or defend players driving the lane. He spoke on his defense before training camp kicked off (via Mavs.com):

"“I think just bringing a paint presence defensively will be key for us,” Bogut explained after averaging 9.1 points, 5.1 rebounds and 3.6 assists in seven games to lead Australia to a fourth-place finish in the Olympics. “You know, just making sure that when guys come in that paint, especially early in games, I’m either contesting the shot, blocking the shot, taking a charge or fouling somebody.“You know, I think the tone that I’ve set on previous teams, especially early in games, was exactly that. If teams get in the paint early, they feel good about themselves, and then so on down the line. So, that’s something I look to do.”"

Bogut has also made a name for himself with the way he operates in the paint as he likes to play a tough style of basketball that can help him establish his presence early on. Besides Tyson Chandler, the Mavs have never really found a center that can do those kinds of things at a high level.

Passing: You could argue that Bogut is the best passing big man in the NBA. Whether it’s setting up a teammate for an outside shot or earning an assist inside, he can make some nifty passes.

For example, here’s a nice GIF from Bobby Karalla of Mavs.com that highlights his ability to bring the ball up the court and make a slick pass through the defense to open up Devin Harris for a layup.

Earlier in that same game, he set a high screen and completed a pretty bounce pass through his legs to set up Deron Williams for a wide open three.

It’s hard to argue with a big man that can make the types of smooth, effective passes that he does, but it’s even better to consider the fact that he can make them from basically anywhere on the court.

Screens: Along with his ability to pass the ball, Bogut serves as one of the best big men in terms of setting screens. He’s demonstrated that already in his two preseason games as he’s set screens up high for various Mavs guards while basically swallowing the defender and creating an open opportunity.

Bogut played a big part in getting Stephen Curry so many open looks back when he was with Golden State and he makes sure he positions himself in a way that makes his teammates as free as possible so they can choose to either shoot or get the ball to a different area of the court.

Bogut is going to have an opportunity to maximize his efforts in Dallas. Most people tend to think Tyson Chandler is the best center of the Dirk Nowitzki era, but Bogut is going to have a shot at taking that title simply because he is able to do so many different things.

He struggled a bit in his first preseason game but made up for it in his next one, earning four points, 11 rebounds, three assists and three blocks in 17 minutes of play.

The situation is just right for him in Dallas. He loves the area and the staff and players enjoy having him around. According to a report from NBA.com’s Scott Howard-Cooper, he is already open to staying with the Mavs past this season, as he is set to become a free agent next summer.

Next: Dallas Mavericks: 2016-17 Season Outlook

Bogut certainly has the right kind of skills that fit into the equation in Dallas. If he is able to utilize them, he could become an even bigger part of the team than expected.