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Old 04-14-2011, 04:44 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Grange: Bargnani, the door is to your left

With the Toronto Raptors season over and the franchise’s future almost never more uncertain, the question begins in earnest: Is Andrea Bargnani worth it?

The No.1 pick in the NBA draft has played five full seasons and proven himself --- without debate this time -- to be what he’s always been: an enigma.

This season his usage rate (the amount of time he had the ball in his hands) increased, his minutes increased and his scoring increased. But in his first opportunity to be the primary option for an NBA team he regressed, and don’t forget, offense is supposed to be his strength.

The spike in scoring – from 17.2 points a game to 21.4 a game; (second among centres in the NBA his dwindling supporters would tell you) – came from more trips to the free throw line (a career-high 5.3 per game) and more shots (his 17.8 attempts from the floor more than Chris Bosh ever took in his career, or ever will, now that he's in Miami) but obscured his decline in every rebounding measure, in blocked shots, in shooting percentage and an increase in turnovers.

With more opportunities, Bargnani scored more and did everything else less except give it away.

The only argument in his favour; the only thing that prevents him from being an albatross is that he is paid relatively affordably, by NBA standards, his four-year, $42-million contract not the kind of number that will have rival teams hanging up the phone
Moving Bargnani is not a core strategy, according the NBA sources; but it's been discussed and there's a sense that Bargnani's potential and his pay cheque would have other teams on the phone in significant numbers. "There are 29 other teams out there who think they could help them," said one source.

Which is why the most important move Bryan Colangelo – or whoever ends up running the Raptors for whatever ownership group is in place – can make is trade the player he drafted as a bigger, more athletic Dirk Nowitzki.

Even at 25 the five-year veteran centre who struggles as an offensive player, let alone a defensive one (Triano referred to him as a ‘good’ on-the-ball defender. Help side? Bargnani’s guess is as good as yours) doesn’t fit on a team heading for another year of rebuilding.

No way. After all, whatever Bargnani’s potential might be, it’s clear he’s got no Nowitzki-like upside.
Bargnani: the door is to your left - The Globe and Mail
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