Milwaukee Bucks center Andrew Bogut said he is tired of trying to justify the hype of being a No 1 overall NBA draft pick and is just happy to be winning games.
The soft-spoken seven-footer is instead concentrating on perfecting parts of his game that other centers in the league often struggle with - his passing, set up play and ability to put winning above all else.
"As long as you're on a winning team, I don't think it matters what your individual numbers are," Bogut told Reuters after practice on Monday.
Bogut is averaging 11.6 points and a career-high 10.40 rebounds this season, solid numbers but below what many feel should accompany the top pick from the 2005 Draft.
The Australian, however, points to Portland's Greg Oden, the top pick from 2007, who, after sitting out last year to injury, is averaging just eight points and seven rebounds.
"I've totally given that up," Bogut said of listening to public expectations. "Greg Oden is going through the same thing. He's not putting up 20 and 20 so people are killing him.
"It's going to take time. The number one picks that put up big numbers usually have been on teams that really haven't been successful early on.
"We were into a playoff run my first year so I was pretty lucky to experience that. The last few years we were struggling but this year we're making a playoff push again."
Bucks coach Scott Skiles said it was unfair to expect so much so soon.
"Some guys figure it out right away, others it takes a little longer. The pace of the game, the schedule - there are so many factors. The mental make-up is crucial."
Skiles said Bogut, who signed a five-year extension in July worth a guaranteed $60 million, "is getting better all the time."
"He's a very good high-post player who is becoming a better low-post player," he said. "We're trying to get him more touches on the box. He's got a nice touch down there.
"He just turned 24 years old. We feel we have a very good center going forward and those are hard to find."
Elsewhere in the Eastern conference, Washington Wizards interim coach Ed Tapscott agreed with Bogut's value to a Bucks side (18-21) who would be a playoff team if the season ended today.
"He's an all-around center. He's more than just scoring. He's a very good passer, a very unselfish player," Tapscott said.
"If you double him, he knows how to pass. If you don't, he's got the best left hand of probably any right-handed center in the league."
(Agencies via China Daily January 14, 2009)