Andrea Bargnani: The Key to The Toronto Raptors Season
Old 08-05-2009, 12:22 AM   #1 (permalink)
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by Scott Hastie (Contributor)
Over this offseason, the Toronto Raptors have drastically improved their roster. The key additions of Hedo Turkoglu and Jarrett Jack have put the Toronto Raptors in a great position for the upcoming season.

But there is one player who's performance will decide the Raptors' fate this season. And that player is Andrea Bargnani.

Drafted in 2006, number one overall by the Toronto Raptors, standing seven feet tall, Andrea Bargnani is an up and coming player in the NBA. In the second half of the season, Bargnani was looking like a true first pick.

Averaging 19.4 points per game after the Break showed Bargnani could score. Toronto improved late because of Andrea's improvement. Bargnani stepped into his role at the centre spot and did his job.

But that was not enough, as the Raptors still finished 33-49 and ended the season without a playoff appearance.

For the Raptors to be serious contenders for the NBA Championship, Andrea Bargnani needs to play like he did last year in the second half of the season. Bryan Colangelo has worked his magic and made it completely possible for Bargnani to play like an All-Star.

For one, Sam Mitchell is no longer coaching. Although Bargnani only averaged 8.6 points per game in December, he also only played 24 minutes a game, the lowest averge of the season.

When Jay Triano took over as head coach, Bargnani was put into his appropriate role of hybrid big man. Mitchell was weak on the X's and O's part of basketball, and Triano could draw up plays to involve Bargnani as a part of the offense.

Also, there is less pressure on Bargnani. When Jermaine O'Neal was brought in, Bargnani's confidence was shot. He felt under-appreciated and under-utilized. But for this season, he was signed to a nice contract extension which showed BC recognized Barg's talents.

Now with the addition of Hedo Turkoglu, Bargnani doesn't need to score 20 points every night. He will have the opportunity to, but he won't have all the pressure from fans, team-mates, and front office to produce. As long as Bargnani contributes and does his job, the Toronto Raptors will be successful.

On offense, expect domination by Bargnani. At seven feet, he is taller than the average centre. But not only does he have the height advantage, he also has the shooting touch of a guard. After the all star break he averaged 45.7 percent from three-point land. He took 4.0 shots and made 1.8. He also shot 49.3 percent from the field, and that's mostly jumpshots because Bargnani is not a low post scorer.

The pure match-up problems Bargnani creates may be enough for Bosh and Turk to score. For example, if Bargnani stays out of the post against teams like Cleveland, then we can free up the paint for penetration. Shaq won't be able to move around quick enough to stay with Bargnani and contest his jumpshots, but also can't stay in front of Bosh.

The same can be said for Boston. Perkins is a great defender but he could have trouble with Bargnani and Bosh now because Bargnani has the confidence to be a premier scorer.

On defense, Bargnani needs to use his body and hold his own down low. When rebounding, he must use his frame and continue to box out to grab the rebounds. If Bargnani can rebound like Gasol, the Raptors can almost guarantee 4th or 5th.

But Bargnani being a league-leading rebounder is not in his arsenal yet. If Bargnani can continue to improve, be a force on offense when needed, and rebound a little bit more, the Raptors will be a serious force in the next few years.

At the end of the 2009-2010 season, where ever Toronto finishes, it's almost a guarantee that Bargnani's numbers will affect the outcome. With less pressure, a better head coach, and great team-mates surrounding him, expect an All-Star appearance out of the Italian. In my opinion, Andrea Bargnani will be huge this year and break out for an average of 20 points per game with seven rebounds. Those would be great numbers while Chris Bosh, Hedo Turkoglu, and Jose Calderon are getting their own.
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Old 08-05-2009, 12:27 AM   #2 (permalink)
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nice read.....i agree on a lot of points....
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Old 08-05-2009, 12:37 AM   #3 (permalink)
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I agree
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Old 08-05-2009, 02:05 AM   #4 (permalink)
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I think Bargs can do it
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Old 08-05-2009, 04:18 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Everything about the Raptors future depends on Bargnani developing as a help defender. This is not an exaggeration. A Bosh and Bargnani frontcourt will never succeed if they can't protect the interior, and that doesn't mean standing up people in the post (post/man to man defense for big men is very overrated and useless). Bargnani is still one of the worst defensive centers in the league and it kills us

The good news is he's huge and is as mobile as any C. So he has the tools, he just needs to put it in place.
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Old 08-05-2009, 07:01 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Bargnani will decide the fate of the Raptors season??

Slightly over dramatic and stupid, really.
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Old 08-05-2009, 07:06 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Pretty lame idea regarding Sam Mitchell. Triano used Andrea at the 3 extensively until JO got hurt, and then he was able to give him more minutes. It had nothing to do with X's and O's. To say so is just stupid.
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Old 08-05-2009, 07:07 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Expect Bargnani step outside on the pick and rolls with Hedo or camp at the corner when the high pick and roll involves Bosh. Either way he shoots a high percentage uncontested three ball. Slamdunk.

There is no way the teams defend Toronto effectively with Hedo and Calderon playing to their strength i.e. high pick and roll

Toronto will be a team of run and gun but it will also be an effective team in half court setting. As long as they are not dismantled altogether by utra-athleticism or sheer muscle they are fine defensively. 50 wins is no illusion boys and girls.

Hedo and Calderon make excellent desicions in open court. That'a a good starting point.

Last edited by Big G; 08-05-2009 at 07:10 AM.
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Old 08-05-2009, 07:46 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Agree, Bargnani is important but not necessarily key.
He's actually a decent one on one defender against Centers. He needs to learn how to be a help defender. Hold his ground and help the team get some rebounds.

I believe Bosh will be the key element .... not on how he plays, but more about how he leads. If he keeps his head up, positive vibe, and continues to be a team player, then Bargnani and the rest of the team can flourish and grow.
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Old 08-05-2009, 08:48 AM   #10 (permalink)
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It's going to be on Triano's shoulders alot too.

We all know Bargs likes to play anything but a back to the basket game and is comfortable 18+ feet out. You guys remember a bunch of games last year when teams would zone us? And they'd have their perimeter defender (like Raja bell when charlotte beat us back to back) on Bargnani and we were getting owned.

Triano's going to need to figure something out for this season.
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Old 08-05-2009, 09:08 AM   #11 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bmats7 View Post
It's going to be on Triano's shoulders alot too.

We all know Bargs likes to play anything but a back to the basket game and is comfortable 18+ feet out. You guys remember a bunch of games last year when teams would zone us? And they'd have their perimeter defender (like Raja bell when charlotte beat us back to back) on Bargnani and we were getting owned.

Triano's going to need to figure something out for this season.
Good point, man. It wasn't just Charlotte either. In a zone, teams could afford to position their best perimeter defenders around Andrea because with an injured Jose we didn't have a guy that could consistently penetrate and force the zone to collapse.

If Jose stays healthy this year (knock on wood), along with Derozan, Jack and Belinelli, we're going to have a handful of guys who can get into the lane and kick the ball out.
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Old 08-05-2009, 09:14 AM   #12 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by jeffb View Post
Bargnani will decide the fate of the Raptors season??

Slightly over dramatic and stupid, really.
I don't really think it was dramatic or stupid. I think that Bargnani is the biggest unknown. We have a pretty good idea about what to expect from most of the roster (maybe Derozan aside) but, at least to me, Bargs remains a bit of a mystery.

If he can step up his game on the defensive end and increase his rebounding numbers then the Raptors will have a much better shot of having the type of season that we're all hoping they'll have.
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Old 08-05-2009, 09:26 AM   #13 (permalink)
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Bargnani has been the "key" for going on his third season now. Maybe it should now be his nickname?
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Old 08-05-2009, 09:45 AM   #14 (permalink)
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he needs to be a threat every time down the floor... in some aspect of his game! that will make this lineup a threat from 1 - 5... and that is a good thing
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Old 08-05-2009, 09:52 AM   #15 (permalink)
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i wouldnt call Barg's the key... he's a piece of the puzzle but not the definitive factor whatsoever.
if he can put up 15/8 and play hard D, we're good. and thats pretty much what we're all expecting, isnt it?
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Old 08-05-2009, 10:13 AM   #16 (permalink)
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Hell no. 8 boards would be friggin huge for him. I'm not sure why anyone would be expecting that based on what he showed last season.
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Old 08-05-2009, 10:17 AM   #17 (permalink)
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this is what he needs to bring, imho, 20 ppg <i would drool> 8 - 10 rpg, 1 - 2 assists, 2 blocks! more is better, and a steal or two would be great. i think if he can be a nuisance inside, we will have much more success with our perimeter game...
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Old 08-05-2009, 10:36 AM   #18 (permalink)
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Hell no. 8 boards would be friggin huge for him. I'm not sure why anyone would be expecting that based on what he showed last season.
i know, when i re-read my post i pretty much laughed at the 8 rebound prediction i put...
but realistically, 8 isnt out of the question. he can easily grab 7 a game... so why not 8? he'll be getting more minutes, he's supposedly bulked up. i wouldnt be surprised if he ended up grabbing 8. i would be ecstatic though.
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Old 08-05-2009, 10:58 AM   #19 (permalink)
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Bargnani will get his minutes and points, and he will be the starting center. However at the end of the season, when the games are crucial and close, and the Raptors need to make stops, Rasho will be closing games.

Bosh needed someone to share the scoring load. With Hedo, Bargnani importance is not as crucial. Similiar to Orlando, Bargnani will play the Rashard Lewis Role being option #3 (scoring threat from the outside).

Last edited by RAPMAN; 08-05-2009 at 11:01 AM.
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Old 08-05-2009, 11:24 AM   #20 (permalink)
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It doesn't all come down to Bargs, he's main part of our success but not all him.
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