The fifth month of the fourth season, and still no conclusion. Except that Andrea Bargnani is lazy.
That comes from someone extremely close to him. The part about being inconsistent and passive, about one moment lending encouragement to the Raptors' postseason hopes and the next becoming a face of the fade -- and, yes, the part about wearing the status as No. 1 pick like an anvil necklace -- that's from everyone else.
This was to have been the season of finally grasping his potential. It isn't. He is shooting better than ever, scoring more than ever, rebounding in a way that gives coaches more encouragement than ever that he can be a presence on the boards. And yet Bargnani is going backward when the Raptors need him most. Maddening -- that's the other thing he is more than ever. Coach Jay Triano just told Toronto reporters that the Raps need Bargnani to focus more. Uh-oh.
Uh-oh is right.
His scoring numbers (16.9 ppg, 47.4 field-goal percentage) are easily on pace for new career bests and his mark of six rebounds a game is a decent bump from the 5.3 rpg of 2008-09. But if the numbers continue to retreat, if he can't play off Bosh better the final 3 1/2 weeks, if the Raptors make an early postseason exit or don't even make the playoffs, it could become a very ugly summer in Canada.
The rebounding is what jumps out (or doesn't). Bargnani is a jump shooter, but he's also a 7-footer who gets a lot of inside time on defense. The numbers are a bad display.
Bargnani is asked how he gets beat on the boards.
"Being lazy maybe," he says. "That's the only reason it can be. I've got the body, I've got everything to take 10 rebounds a game. It's just sometimes I get lazy."
He needs to fix that, obviously. He needs to play with more focus.
"Yeah," Bargnani agrees. "More focus. You said it. More focus and don't get lazy."
The rest of the Raptors season, and maybe longer, depends on it.