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Old 08-24-2012, 05:09 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Bargnani's Impressive Defense

And now for something completely different...

In the never ending debate about who or what Andrea Bargnani is as an NBAer, his defensive presence, or rather his perceived lack of a defensive presence, is often one of the starting points.

I began noticing an improvement in Bargnani’s defensive game during the second half of his third NBA season (the 2009 portion of the 2008-09 season), and for the most part, that defence has slowly continued to improve since then.

I never saw him as being worth a lick as a help-defender, but it was becoming obvious to me and others that at the very least, Bargs was evolving into an underrated one-on-one defender, if not a solid one. While Chris Bosh was getting praise for taking on more of a defensive role to help the U.S. capture Olympic gold in 2008, Bargnani might have been out-performing him on the defensive end in Toronto (Before you go apeshit on me, no, I am not suggesting Bargnani is better than Bosh, just that he was probably always a better one-on-one defender than Bosh was).

But even those of us who could see Bargnani’s defensive improvements couldn’t have expected this:
On Friday, well known NBA web writer Matt Moore dug into the statistics to write one of the better and more in-depth Bargnani pieces you’ll find. What Moore found in stats provided by Synergy Sports is that Andrea ranked in the 88th percentile in post defence, the 56th percentile in isolation defence and a mind blowing rank in the 95th percentile in overall man-to-man defence this past season.

Let that sink in for a moment.

What the Synergy stats don’t take into account is the very downfall of Bargnani’s defence, and that’s his absolute bewilderment when it comes to the concept of help-defence (Synergy’s defensive measure takes into account the man a player defends from possession to possession, but doesn’t take into account the fact that a player failed to rotate properly to cover a player who has blown by one of his teammates. If that now unmarked player scores, the onus falls on the player that was initially guarding the scorer, which is the player that was blown by).

Moore, though, does go into Bargnani’s help struggles in his fair assessment, which includes the observation that Bargs might almost be too locked in to his initial defensive assignment of guarding his own man.
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