Happy bday Mr primo @andreabargnani
— Amir Johnson (@IamAmirJohnson) October 26, 2012
As you now know thanks to Amir Johnson, Andrea Bargnani celebrates his birthday today.
So here’s to you, Andrea. Here’s hoping that you can return to your pre-calf injury form from last season and maintain that form for a whole year. Here’s wishing that you stay healthy, and finally capitalize on your incredible offensive talents, which when utilized effectively, almost negate your lack of an understanding about help defence or rebounding. Here’s also hoping that you continue to be a surprisingly effective one-on-one defender, because it’s always fun blowing people away with numbers to back up that fact.
Lastly, here’s hoping that you put all of the above together in one awesome breakout season, because you turned 27 today, and if you don’t put it together this year, I can all but guarantee that you won’t do it at 28.
Actually, my last wish is that your teammates actually call you “Mr. Primo,” because that would be awesome.
In all seriousness though, this roster has been built to mask Bargnani’s deficiencies. Kyle Lowry and Landry Fields are both above average rebounders and defenders at their positions, with Lowry among the best point guards in the NBA in those two categories. Jonas Valanciunas is already an impressive defensive presence who, if he can stay on the floor, should finally push Andrea to his more natural power forward position on a full time basis and will grab some of the rebounds Bargnani leaves behind.
The team’s defence should continue to improve, the need for help defence, while always important, shouldn’t be as big an issue with better perimeter defenders, and the team should rebound the ball well enough to mask whatever low total Bargs produces this year. Add it all up, and you realize that if the other major pieces on this roster stay healthy, then all Bargnani really has to do is take advantage of those aforementioned offensive talents while still providing his usual competent man to man defence.
If he can complete the simpler task on his plate this year and stay healthy himself, I suppose there actually is reason to believe that at 27, with a supporting cast tailor made for him, this finally will be Bargnani’s ever elusive “breakout season.”
Take it or leave it, birthday boy.