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News » Bogans a master of the art of irritation

Bogans a master of the art of irritation

Bogans a master of the art of irritation It is a general truism that every NBA player possesses at least one NBA skill. It didn't take long for Keith Bogans to discover his.

He's built a career on his uncanny ability to be the most annoying guy in the room.

"I want to annoy guys," said Bogans, the Spurs' latest starter at shooting guard. "I want guys to know when I'm guarding them, it's going to be a tough night. I don't want anybody to think it's going to be a walk in the park. See me, and put a smile on your face? No, that's not me."

An afterthought for much of the preseason, Bogans has emerged as perhaps the biggest early-season surprise for the Spurs . His defensive prowess earned him a spot in the starting lineup three games ago, and he has done little to relinquish it.

In the Spurs' shorthanded 92-83 victory over Dallas on Wednesday, the 6-foot-5 Bogans was instrumental in helping to hold the Mavericks' four best perimeter scorers - Jason Terry, Josh Howard, Jason Kidd and J.J. Barea - to a combined 12 of 39 shooting. The 13 points Bogans scored himself were mere icing.

"That's what Keith Bogans does," coach Gregg Popovich said. "He knows his role. He takes pride in it."

It was a breakout game for a player who was still looking for a job just two months ago.

After finishing last season in Milwaukee, Bogans, 29, entered free agency against the backdrop of an uncertain economy. With revenue down, teams were holding their purse strings tight. More than half planned to keep less than a full roster to defray costs.

It left players like Bogans - an established, six-year NBA veteran - scrambling to find work. It was Sept. 21, barely a week before the start of training camp, before Bogans signed with the Spurs .

"We stayed persistent, and they stayed persistent," said Bogans, who will make the veteran's minimum of $1.03 million this season. "It only takes one team to like you. I like the team that liked me."

The Spurs first emerged on Bogans' radar on June 23, when they struck a deal with his old team, the Bucks, for Richard Jefferson. Included in the Spurs' package for Jefferson was Bruce Bowen, an annual fixture on the NBA's all-defensive team.

Bowen's departure left a void Bogans longed to fill.

"Once I saw Bruce leave, I thought it was a perfect opportunity for me," said Bogans, who has also played for Orlando, Charlotte and Houston. "I do basically the same thing he did. I'm not as good of a defender yet, but I'm trying."

Rescued from the NBA's unemployment line, Bogans was somewhat of a forgotten man in camp. He logged a total of 25 minutes in the first five games of the regular season, sitting out a loss at Chicago entirely.

On Nov. 6 in Portland, Bogans' role changed. Hoping to beef up the Spurs' defense, Popovich inserted him into the starting lineup. He's been in it ever since.

Spurs forward Antonio McDyess, a former Detroit Piston, was familiar with Bogans' work in the Eastern Conference. When he began to see Bogans on an everyday basis, McDyess began to appreciate Bogans' art of irritation.

"That dude is a monster," McDyess said. "I knew he was a good defensive player, but I didn't know he was that good."

McDyess likens Bogans to former Detroit teammate Lindsey Hunter, another player who built his reputation as a tenacious defender. Well-versed in Hunter's body of work, Bogans considers the comparison the ultimate compliment.

"Lindsey was a bulldog, one of those guys who would get into guys and annoy them," Bogans said. "That's my job, too. I take pride in playing defense. When a guy scores on me, I get mad."

More often than not, the guy Bogans is guarding is the one feeling frustrated these days. That is life as the most annoying man in the room.

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Author: Fox Sports
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Added: November 14, 2009


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