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Old 02-01-2011, 09:36 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Arrow SI.com: As Bargnani falls flat, so do the Raptors

Whether they intended to or not (and they probably didn’t, at least to this degree), the Raptors have hitched a lot of their franchise to Andrea Bargnani. And in the first season that he’s actually had to prove he’s worth top dog status, Bargnani has basically fallen on his face.

So have the Raptors.

They’re competitive, they try hard and they’ve been hit by injuries big and small, but the Raptors have lost 12 straight games, they’ve only won five of their last 30 and they are playing dispiriting hoops on both ends of the floor.
But you can’t excuse Bargnani, no matter how badly Evans might want everyone to lay off. Not when Josh McRoberts grabs an offensive rebound on the left side of the rim, sees a 7-foot center in his way and decides, “Hey, I’ll just ram my shoulder into his chest, move him and dunk the ball in his face” (see the 7:41 mark of the third quarter Monday). Not when Jeff Foster, upon seeing a Mike Dunleavy jumper go up, simply slides in front of Bargnani, boxes him out and snags an offensive rebound (see the 3:51 mark of the third quarter). And not when the Raptors’ announce team, proud homers and defenders of Bargnani, are now openly pining for Ed Davis to get more minutes.

If you watch the Raptors, you know these are not isolated things. And it’s the rebounding, of course, that still grates on you. More than halfway through the season, Bargnani is grabbing 5.6 boards per 36 minutes — tied for the worst mark of his career and on pace to be one of the very worst marks a guy at least 6-10 has put up in the entire history of the NBA. Bargnani has rebounded 9.1 percent of all misses while on the floor this season. If you’re not familiar with rebounding percentage, you need to understand how awful that is. Just now — one minute before I wrote this sentence — I closed my eyes and thought of the first random wing player that entered my mind. It was Paul Pierce. But Pierce is a good rebounder for his position, so I started over, thinking the comparison would be unfair.

LINK - SI.com
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