We already knew Andrea Bargnani was playing at a career-best level before a calf strain put him on the shelf, maybe even at an All Star level. Most of that was based on his impressive and efficient offensive arsenal to start the season, and also on what fans and experts alike agreed was a dramatic improvement in his team defence (he was already a decent man-to-man defender, whether you want to believe it or not).
But nobody, not even the most optimistic Raptors fan or Bargnani supporter could have predicted or imagined this:
After I got over the shock of this tweet, I began to wonder what exactly this meant. Did it mean Bargnani had the lowest Defensive Points Per Possession rating when he was on the floor? Did it mean Bargnani had the best rating in terms of one-on-one situations? There’s obviously a big difference.
Luckily for us, Hardwood Paroxysm founder Matt Moore responds to tweets and gladly answered my questions. Here are his responses:
I won’t argue with you if you say 11 games is too small a sample to officially proclaim Bargnani a changed player, but as I wrote yesterday, there hasn’t been that much to get excited about in the first quarter of this season, so Bargnani’s apparent evolution from one-dimensional bust to a complete package and possible All Star (if he gets back on the court this week and picks up where he left off) is what we’re left with.
Who knows how Bargnani will look and play when he returns from injury? Maybe a month from now we’re all frustrated about the return of “Old Bargnani.” But for right now, Andrea continues to provide us with hope and evidence (even when he’s not playing) that the Raptors have at least one of their five positions filled with an above average player, on both ends of the floor, for the next few years.