10th–year, 6-10, 250-pound power forward Drew Gooden has stepped up with two strong 23-point performances while filling in for Milwaukee’s starting center Andrew Bogut. The 260-pound, 7-footer from Australia fractured his ankle in last week’s win over the Houston Rockets. Bogut’s injury could cost him the remainder of the season, and it could cost his teammates the postseason.
Bogut was third in scoring with 11.3 ppg, and the Bucks will sorely miss the 2010-11 block leader at the defensive end of the court as he led them in rebounding with 8.3 boards per game. This early season setback is a big blow to the Bucks, who conceded the eighth seed to the Pacers in last year’s Eastern Conference playoff race. Coach Scott Skiles has charged veteran reserve Drew Gooden with the task of filling Bogut’s shoes, and so far “The Truth” has delivered.
Former Kansas Jayhawk Andrew Melvin “Drew” Gooden (who joined fellow freshmen Nick Collison and Kirk Hinrich for the 1999–2000 season) was named NABC Player of the Year for 2002. He began his NBA career in Memphis in the small forward role, but it soon became apparent that he was better suited for the power forward position. Gooden has worn as many jerseys as years he’s competed in the league. But his red, white and green shirt just might stick. The Bucks signed the big man to a five-year contract prior to the start of the 2010 season, adding much-needed depth to their frontcourt.
Gooden put up 23 points, pulled down 15 rebounds and dished 6 dimes in 36 minutes during Friday’s 107-100 loss to the Chicago Bulls. And he helped his shorthanded squad deliver the fourth straight road loss to the Los Angeles Lakers with 23 points and 8 rebounds in Saturday’s 100-89 upset.
The Bucks will be looking for consistency in Gooden’s game. If he continues to produce, Gooden will get the majority of Bogut’s minutes, though 6-10, 4th-year forward Ersan Ilyasova from Turkey will chip in as well. This week Gooden will have four opportunities to prove his worth on the frontline and boost his value to fantasy owners. The Milwaukee Bucks begin a stretch of three road games with a match against their Central Division rivals the Detroit Pistons tonight at 8:00 PM EST.