Andrew Bogut and Nenê have been two of the better foreign big men in the NBA since their careers started. Both were high draft picks (Bogut was chosen 1st overall and Nenê 7th) and both have had injury-laden careers.
Although Bogut and Nenê have been good players, neither has lived up to their draft status. Their injuries could be the culprits – they haven’t been able to play consistently enough to really “break out.”
Nenê was on the NBA All-Rookie First Team in 2003. Although he didn’t make any serious improvements over the next two seasons, he suffered a devastating knee injury during the first game of his fourth season.
Nenê grew to be a better player in the coming seasons, but that injury definitely hurt his development.
Bogut also missed a good deal of his fourth season in the NBA, but his most devastating injury occurred the year after. Bogut sustained a major elbow and hand injury, forcing him to miss a great deal of time.
Before the elbow injury, Bogut was having a breakout season. He was averaging 15.9 points, 10.2, and 2.5 blocks per game. Although he played well after he recovered from the injury, Bogut broke his ankle in a game during the 2011-2012 season. This forced him to miss the rest of the year and many games the following season after being traded to the Golden State Warriors from the Milwaukee Bucks.
Out of 11 seasons in the league, Nenê has played less than 30 games four times. Bogut has finished near the 30 game threshold three times in eight seasons.
Both players have found success in between injuries, but which player has been better? There are plenty of areas to look at. Bogut and Nenê have different playing styles, so comparisons aren’t cut and dry.
For his career, Bogut averages 12.2 points per game and has averaged at least 10 points per game every season except for his rookie season and this past season. Nenê averages 12.4 points per game for his career and has crossed into double digits almost every season as well.
The difference in their scoring comes from their shooting percentages. Nenê holds a 55.2 percent field goal percentage for his career, compared to 51.9 percent for Bogut. Although their point totals are very close, that percentage difference means a lot.
Nenê also wins when looking at free throw shooting, beating Bogut by over 10 percent (68 percent vs. 57 percent). While neither player is a good free throw shooter, teams will think twice about fouling Nenê.
Rebounding is an important skill to have for a big man. When comparing Bogut and Nenê, there is no contest – Bogut easily wins 9.2 to 6.9 for career averages.
Bogut also wins easily when looking at blocks per game. Bogut averages 1.6 blocks per game for his career and had two seasons where he averaged at least 2.5 blocks per game. Nenê’s career average is .9 blocks per game.
Bogut also bests Nenê in assists per game 2.3 to 1.9, but both players are good passers for big men.
Since Bogut has played three seasons less than Nenê (although he is only two years younger), comparing their careers might be unfair. Bogut could improve in the future or he could fade away.
However, at this moment, Bogut seems to have the edge. Nenê seems to have the edge offensively, but Bogut is no slouch on offense. When rebounding and defense are added in, the Aussie is the right choice.