Andrew Bogut probably won’t be clipping and saving the story surrounding his first game with the Dallas Mavericks.
Saturday against the Milwaukee Bucks, Bogut played 14 minutes and finished with no points, six rebounds, two assists, one steal, one blocked shot and four fouls while going 0-of-2 from the field. Granted, it was only a preseason game, but Bogut expects more of himself.
“We didn’t play too well as a team,” Bogut said of the 88-74 loss to the Bucks. “Individually, I’m just trying to get back into a rhythm, and that first game is always a tough one.”
The Mavericks acquired Bogut over the summer in a trade with the Golden State Warriors. The 7-foot center is expected to become the rim protector and shot-blocker they’ve coveted since Tyson Chandler left for Phoenix via free agency in the summer of 2015.
Despite Bogut’s poor statistical line against the Bucks, coach Rick Carlisle saw a silver lining in the 12-year veteran’s first game.
“I thought he moved well,” Carlisle said. “He got a chance to get some real game work in.
“We’ll try to ramp him up a little more each game. He had a very good practice [Monday], so things are going in a good direction.”
The Mavericks (1-2) will certainly “ramp things up” at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday when they host the Oklahoma City Thunder at American Airlines Center. The game will mark the preseason debut of superstar forward Dirk Nowitzki, who missed the opening three games to rest.
Bogut, coming off a bruised knee injury in last season’s NBA Finals, is eager for the chance to play alongside Nowitzki, a 13-time All-Star and sixth all time in NBA scoring. Bogut sees all the opportunities that he and particularly point guard Deron Williams can take advantage of because of Nowitzki’s ability to stretch the floor with his perimeter game.
“Spacing is going to be really good,” Bogut said. “He shoots the ball outside the NBA three and he can get his shot off on anybody.
“If you close out late he’s so big that he still gets his shot off. It should hopefully help myself and D-Will, especially guys that can get to the paint.”
Tuesday might be the first time the Mavericks play their potential opening-day starting lineup of guards Wesley Matthews and Williams, forwards Harrison Barnes and Nowitzki, and Bogut.
“We just want to get in a rhythm,” Bogut said. “We see a lot of teams in preseason that’s starting to play their full guys already, so we’ll probably start ramping it up here and making sure we’re in a good rhythm.
“You don’t want to get into a situation where it’s the first game of the regular season and you’re like, ‘Oh, who’s this guy, what’s his strengths, what’s his weaknesses?’ You can only do so much in practice, so I think we’re looking forward to that.”
Mavericks vs. Thunder
7:30 p.m. Tuesday, FSSW