If the season ended today, the blossoming of Andrea Bargnani
would be the seminal event of the campaign.
Since his return to the starterís role, he has averaged over 21 points but that only tells part of the story.
Jermaine OíNeal is a Raptor and will be for a foreseeable future but OíNealís fate is tied Bargnaniís. OíNeal is here because Bargnaniís ascendancy had slipped from a certainty to a possibility. The clock is always ticking when you have a franchise player like Chris Bosh
and so the move was made to bring in OíNeal to supplement the Raptorís franchise player.
Jermaine OíNeal is what he is, a valuable player who can get you six to eight rebounds and 12 to 16 points a night. Despite his protestations, he is a player with a history of knee injuries with the latest one keeping him out of the lineup for nine games. At 23, Bargnani
offers an infinitely more promising future. If his progress continues at the current pace of a headlong gallop, he is a hybrid player, a jump shooting, defensively sound seven-footer with a spectacular view of the floor, a killer first step and a serviceable low post game. In short, he could be a pillar, not a piece. Notice the word could.
What that does, of course, is change the direction of the franchise and the roster.