Chisholm: DeRozan, Bargnani show signs of improvement
Old 12-22-2011, 10:54 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Chisholm: DeRozan, Bargnani show signs of improvement



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What are we to make of this development? That's TBD. However, there was something about the way he went after it yesterday that struck just about everyone who watched the game. For a long time, he's been written off as a rebounder because he never even seemed to be aware of the option to go at the glass when a shot went up. It's like the synapse in his brain never fired that way. You could almost convince yourself that it wasn't a case of effort because he simply didn't have the mental training to even pursue the option of getting a rebound or boxing-out under the hoop.

Yesterday, though, he proved at the very least that the synapse is in fact fully functional; that he is, in fact, fully capable of seeing a shot go up and running to get in rebounding position. He averaged 7.4 rpg with Italy in EuroBasket play, too, suggesting this isn't an occurrence that just showed up on one random December afternoon.

I've long maintained that Bargnani just has to get one of his two biggest deficiencies (defence and rebounding) up to an acceptable level to completely change the usefulness of his game. If he can become an active rebounder (which doesn't just mean the number he gets per game but also describes the act of boxing-out, keeping balls alive and simply giving his team a chance to come away with a carom) then the team can work around his defensive limitations.

If we use his 7.4 rpg as a benchmark, both David West and Dirk Nowitzki got away with that output while seeing their teams succeed with them as starters. Neither are great defenders, but their offence is potent enough and their rebounding is average enough that the team can compensate for their defensive limitations. No player is 100% perfect, it's a matter of giving enough so that a team doesn't have to overextend itself to mitigate your weaknesses while reaping the rewards of your positives. Again, it was one game, but if Bargnani's rebounding efforts were genuine, then the book on him as an NBA player has to be significantly rewritten.

It helps, too, that DeRozan and Bargnani are Toronto's two most important players and the two that showed the most intriguing developments in their games yesterday. Wednesday sees a preseason rematch before the games start to count on Christmas Day, so keep an eye on these two areas to get a sense of whether there has been real growth or just a trick of fate that saw them both excel in areas of extreme weakness.
Chisholm: DeRozan, Bargnani show signs of improvement
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Old 12-22-2011, 11:16 PM   #2 (permalink)
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...and he failed miserably at meeting his quota last night.

One game with Bargnani means nothing. What I am noticing is that he is keeping his feet moving on defense, with the defensive schemes sending him out to the perimeter to show hard, and sometimes switch altogether. I don't know how sustainable that is, but it's a starting point that helps keep him engaged and reacting half decently. Of course he still had a stretch through much of the 2nd quarter where he got lit up by everybody. But coming out in the 3rd quarter he made some impact and was an overall positive. The question is where he ends up a month from now. He's had plenty of good showings, and ultimately regresses each time. He is being asked to use a lot of energy, and a lot of it is in something of a scramble mode that isn't really effective. Hopefully he can gain enough good habits that stick all the same, and become a little more refined in the process. Otherwise accountability will have to come into play.
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