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Bargnani: A Fair Assessment

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  • Bargnani: A Fair Assessment

    Bargnani impresses. I’ve been down this road so many times now and we all know that Bargnani is nothing if not the ultimate tease. But it’s worth noting that he had the best season of his career, and a pretty respectable one across the board. The distance he’s travelling from his second season or even midway through last year to now is remarkable. The blueprint with him was always that in year five he’d be the player everyone projected him to be; that the rest of his rookie class would come along faster but he’d be the best player in the long run. That middle 120 games of his career really made that hard to believe. Year two was a write off and half of year three was too, but he’s been pretty good the last 120 games. He can defend his position one-on-one; he can post up all sizes of players and has a mid-range game that makes him a tough cover for most bigs and he can shoot with unlimited range. You have to be concerned about his tendency to disappear between and within games, and his off-the-ball defence is pretty bad (and why is it that hard, really? That I just don’t get). But if Bosh does go and Bargnani gets all the ball he wants and is paired with hard-nosed Anderson Varejao-type at the four spot, I’d be interested in seeing what he could do. Is there more there? Or is he some combination of Mehmet Okur and Troy Murphy? It was interesting hearing him talk frankly about his wasted rebounding potential and off-the-ball defence. It was interesting seeing him shave his non-playoff beard. He promises to be the most interesting story of the 2010-11 season for Raptors fans. Not saying that’s a good thing, but still.

    M. Grange

  • #2
    It's his opinion. Not a fair assessment. I had hope for Bargnani at the beginning of the season, but he's incredibly ineffective.

    Statistically, he's pretty much the same as in his rookie season. He scores at the same rate, with the same percentage and rebounds at the same rate. Stats don't tell the whole story, but when there such little improvement over four years, it does tell you something.

    His on the ball defense is sometimes good, sometimes bad. And part of defense is keeping your man off the boards, which he doesn't do.

    His post up game IS improved, but it's still poor for a player with his size and offensive skills. He doesn't hold position well, doesn't seal his man, has trouble catching post passes, and tends to shoot the same fade away no matter who is guarding him. He's simply not comfortable in the post and not all that effective when he's down there.

    He's a good shooter for his size, but doesn't move well without the ball and his only move is a pumpfake and drive. He needs people to create for him because he can't do it himself. And for a guy who is supposedly such a good shooter, he should be shooting a much higher percentage from beyond the arc, especially considering the majority of his shots from there are simple catch and shoots.

    And he's actually getting to the line at a lower rate than in any other season.

    His off the ball defense is not only bad, it hasn't improved in 4 years. THAT is probably the most telling thing. After four years in the NBA, he still doesn't seem to understand the basics of team defense. That a poor basketball IQ.

    And if Bargnani was paired with someone like Varejao, his team would still get outrebounded and have trouble on defense.

    If the Raptors kept Bargnani, he would need a PF who can not only defend and rebound, but score inside (Okafor or a healthy Elton Brand), a small forward who is an above average rebounder and defender but can also score (like Gerald Wallace or Luol Deng), a SG who can create off the dribble, defend and rebound (maybe Igoudala) and a PG who can also create off the dribble and defend (Derrick Rose, Deron Williams etc). In other words, a completely different roster than what the Raptors currently have. The team that is most similar to the one above happens to be the Chicago Bulls. You think they want him instead of Bosh?
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