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Join Date: Dec 2007
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How much is Bargnani really worth?
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Before Tuesday, Toronto had played 11 games without Bargnani, and had gone 29. However, those 11 games were played against teams with a combined .622 winning percentage. (For an idea of how good that is, think how many times the Raptors, at full strength, would beat the likes of Orlando or Denver given 11 chances.)
In those games, the Raptors have scored fewer points per game than usual, allowed fewer points than usual and rebounded the ball slightly better than usual or pretty much what anybody who has watched Bargnani play would expect.
Some advanced statistics, however, present Bargnani's worth in a far more negative light. According to 82games. com, the Raptors score 3.5 more points per 100 possessions when Bargnani is on the floor compared to when he is off it, but surrender 6.1 fewer points per 100 possessions when he is off the floor. Basically, his poor defence outweighs his offensive output by an average of 2.6 points per 100 possessions.
Naturally, those statistics do not exist in a vacuum they are dependent on whom he is playing with and whom he is playing against.
The adjusted plusminus statistic tries to eliminate all of the variables, coming up with a formula that measures a player's hypothetical performance as if he were playing against five perfectly average players and playing with four other perfectly average players all of the time. For the last two years, Bargnani has been at 5.14 points per 100 possessions. (The same statistic rates Ed Davis as the worst Raptor and ranks Earl Watson comparably to Pau Gasol, so take that with nine pounds of salt.)
Basketball does not have a statistical bible, as there are far more variables than in baseball. The numbers, though, make us think and ask questions, such as the one posed above.
Bargnani's value is just about negligible. He gives the Raptors the most varied offensive option they have, and that invariably makes a team more dangerous. He provides historically bad rebounding and poor help defence, which significantly takes away from that. And, for the record, he is owed US$42million over the next four years.
Anecdotally, the Raptors looked like a livelier, more frenetic team over the weekend. Sure, Bargnani was a significant part of other wins this season. But the argument his presence is a major boon to the Raptors now, and particularly in the future, continues to weaken.

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