After the success of the Valanciunas-inspired "Hope" poster, theScore's creative team just couldn't help themselves

By now, I’m sure you’ve all heard about Sam Mitchell’s recent radio comments about not being hard enough on Andrea Bargnani because the organization thought he couldn’t take it, and because of those comments, Bargnani’s negative affect on the Raptors is back in the limelight, especially with the team having won three straight since Kyle Lowry’s return to the lineup.

First of all, as Skeets tweeted last night, the notion that anyone in the organization thought Bargnani couldn’t take tough love from Mitchell doesn’t add up when you remember that Bryan Colangelo and co. were apparently blown away by Bargnani’s outstanding Caliper Profile results before the 2006 Draft. You know, the test that “showed that Bargnani is virtually oblivious to what others think of him.”

But with or without Smitch’s comments, we’d all probably be talking about Bargnani anyway. After all, for better or worse, the Bargnani conundrum is the topic we just can’t get enough of. We’ll all write about him and discuss him and then say things like we’re “done” talking about him or “tired” of talking about him, and yet lo and behold, there we are weeks later having the exact same conversation or writing the exact same column/blog about him.

Outside of Toronto, you have people (Matt Moore is probably the prime example right now since he has been the most vocal about it on Twitter) who can’t understand why Raptors fans seem so eager to dump every issue with this team on Bargnani’s shoulders. Those outsiders make valid points. We’re all aware that whether it’s the schedule, better all around ball movement, more consistent rotations or even just bounces going their way, there’s a lot more to the Raptors’ recent run of success than just Bargnani being sidelined with an elbow injury.

But having said that, Bargnani’s pathetic early season play was a big part of why the Raptors looked so pathetic as a team, and it’s not a stretch to say that while it’s not all on his shoulders, no other Raptor directly affected the team as negatively as Andrea did through the first 20 games or so.

The most surprising and almost disappointing thing to me is that after all we’ve been through as fans with Bargnani, there are still those out there who believe that this most recent round of harsh criticism, the most recent trade rumours and the team’s recent run of success without him could finally be the spark plugs that ignite Andrea and inspire him to get the most out of his tantalizing skillset.

My reaction to that misguided hope? Simply read the short statement in the image above.

For the thousandth time, it will never be a talent issue with Bargnani, and Mitchell himself discussed that (Sam seemed convinced, like most of us, that the talent is there) during the heavily dissected interview with Tim and Sid.

But other than brief and isolated flashes at various points in his seven-year career, it’s been pretty obvious that none of this means a lot to him. He often looks like a guy who’s been handed a set of phenomenal talents in an art form he has no natural passion for, and getting the most out of those talents doesn’t seem to concern him. The reason he scored so well on the Caliper is probably the same reason he frustrates so many with his career long inconsistency – he just doesn’t care. If he does, he has a strange and confusing way of showing it.

The obvious problem here is that professional athletes with the reputation of a Bargnani don’t suddenly start looking like they care in Year 7 at age 27. They either have it in them or they don’t.

This isn’t about partaking in some unjust witchhunt against Bargnani. It’s not an indication of his skill level or even a complaint about him being selected No. 1 overall in the only year the Raptors had the top pick. It’s just about a realization that everyone who’s watched the guy play in Toronto should have come to by now that he doesn’t deserve any benefit of the doubt, and that he simply doesn’t belong here anymore.

Pessimistic hating? No.

But “hope?” With Andrea Bargnani?


Comments (37)

  1. This bad publicity that Bargs is getting now is all arriving at a very bad time for the Raptors. It would be great if we got some decent assets. We may even get less for Bargs than we got from Carter. Which is saying a lot.

    • We will get much less for Bargs than we did for Carter. First, because Bargs is a much worse player. Second, because draft picks are worth much more in an era of stricter salary cap rules.

      Can you see anyone giving us 2 first round draft picks for Bargs?

  2. Here’s an idea. Instead of everyone jumping on Andrea why not see how fits in with the team on his return. I don’t believe the players or management will allow him to alter the chemistry of the team. He can score 20 to 30 points on any given night and it’s not like the Raps have a lot of those kinds of guys. You can’t say he won’t be any different because the whole team is playing differently so I’m with Brian. Lets see what happens.

  3. I’ve never seen a sports team blame one player more for their issues, than Toronto fans with Bargnani. Yes, he stunk early this year, but you know what doesn’t mean by the end of the year his number would have been worse than they have been before. People go into slumps every year. Alan anderson returning to the lineup and giving the raptors SOMETHING out of the 3 spot(vs Kleiza, Mcqufire, Peitrus etc..) Calderon playing great, and the HOME schedule were the main factors…the raps were solid at home even during their brutal start to the season.

    For heaven sake, let it go, he’ll come off the bench when he comes back and we’ll go from there…

    • And no writer more than this one.

    • For f*cks sake, he didn’t “stink this year.”

      The issue is that many of us have known that bargs gives up more than he gets for years now, but BC always seems determined to build a team around a fatally flawed player.

      It’s really frustrating to know that Bargs has been the player he is today for 3 years now, and our star GM and Pres BC couldn’t see it. So now, when the whole league knows that Bargs sucks, we’re felt holding the bag on a player that is probably worse than Charlie Villanueva, but whom we paid $12 million more.

    • On the other hand, I’ve never, ever seen a player been given so many excuses and has been been held accountable as little as Bargnani has. Chris Bosh takes rebounds away from him. He’s playing out of position. He needs to play beside a great defensive centre. He needs a better defensive PG. Sam Mitchell was too hard on him. jay Triano was too easy on him. The list is endless. I’ve never seen a player given 7 years on the same team to figure out something it was obvious to many he’d never get.

      I Also have to take issue with saying he has the skills. Dedication, hard work and hustle are skills. And Bargnani never had those skills. That should have been evident when he was drafted. Taking a big man who was as poor a rebounder and defender as Bargnani was should have been a massive red flag.

      And continuing to give him chance after chance is inexcusable.

  4. I think if Casey brings him off the bench and has a very short leash on him. He might be a guy to get you some quick points but as soon as he doesnt do something you pull him

    Thats the only way it will work and hopefully he can play well in fewer minutes and a decent trade might arise.

  5. Well-wrtten, Joseph!

    It’s unfortunate that it’s taken the way this season has gone, the recent negative interviews (both Bargs and Smitch), and the negative press to shine a light on something that should be clear to Colangelo, Raptors management and fans, even without all that jazz: Bargnani’s time is up in Toronto.

    With Bargnani, it’s not about a numbers game, it’s not doubting whether or not he can put 20-30 up on the board, it’s not whether or not he can grab 4rpg or 7 rpg. It’s about his attitude, and how that infects the team culture. He just doesn’t care. Beyond a talent injection, what this team needs is a culture shift, which hopefully starts with guys like Casey, Lowry, Ed Davis, etc.

    Whenever I hear people say, “wait and see how he fits in”, I almost wonder if they’ve watched all 7 years of Bargnani’s time here. We’ve been done all this before. Maybe Bargs has it in him. Maybe someone like Riley, Karl or even D’Antoni can get him to put it all together and put in the effort. But one thing is clear – it’s not going to happen here. It’s probably best for both the Raps and Bargs to go separate ways at this point.

    • his times up but you wont be able to rid of him unless he plays

      • True – then he should play off the bench, at best. If Valanciunas is back, he isn’t even the first big off the bench – he’s the 4th behind JV, ED and Amir.

        Honestly, at this point,, how much worse off are we if we get literally nothing back for him? The important thing is he goes.

  6. Personally I can’t wait for our 7 foot, 32% three-point threat to jump back into the lineup! It’s gonna be great, having him stand out there on the perimeter and chip in those 16 ppg that this team has really been missing! Lord knows, the offence has looked horrible without him. It’ll be nice to have him back spreading the floor – the paint is so clogged these days that DD can’t even get to the rim any more. Even Terrence Ross hasn’t had a chance to dunk since college! Ed Davis shooting 15 foot J’s from the baseline and Amir shooting from above the free throw line just doesn’t do it for me! Let’s get a big out on the perimeter, stat!

    Yup, a 7 footer who shoots 39% from the floor and 32% from 3, can’t rebound, doesn’t pass the ball, can’t play team defense, and has always performed below his potential – after 7 years, I definitely got the feeling that this is the year!

    I concur that you guys are all too hard on a very talented player of whom everyone has always said, “Wow, he could be a lot better!” This is the type of piece that every team needs to build around.

    Go Raps Go!

  7. Just as 1 great player can improve an NBA team’s performance all his it’s own, one terrible player can destroy a team’s chances all by himself. Normally players that bad aren’t allowed the playing time to ruin a season, but the Raptors are unique in granting a near unlimited leash to the sucking chest wound that has been starting at PF/C the past half dozen years.

  8. Bring him off the bench, which will give the team quite the scoring punch for the second unit. The day Jonas is back, trade him for a box of timbits.

  9. I think it is time he moved on.

    He is clearly skilled, but doesn’t look like he will succeed here. He would do better with a change of scenery. Some team that has a great defensive center to team up with him. For an example – Andrey Blatche is having a great bounce back year in Brooklyn, but he is much more efficient when paired with Reggie Evans.

    I think a perfect scenario for Bargs would be OKC as an example. They could use another scoring threat, and they have Perkins or Ibaka they could use to hopefully off set some of his liabilities. He gets rejuvenated playing for a contender maybe. Not sure how that would work money wise – but that was the first thought that came into mind. \

    “The obvious problem here is that professional athletes with the reputation of a Bargnani don’t suddenly start looking like they care in Year 7 at age 27. They either have it in them or they don’t.”

    As for above statement – what about Zach Randolph – would he fit the above criteria? Certainly an outlier I am sure, but who knows.

    • It’s funny that you bring up Z-Bo, because a friend asked me the same question and he’s the one guy I was thinking of when I wrote this. But even Randolph, who may not have become a truly elite player until later in his career, was already a well above average player in Year 7 at age 26. Here’s a comparison to look at:

      Again, I know it doesn’t tell the whole story, but Randolph’s career PER after seven seasons was 19.2. Andrea’s is 14.5.

    • If he goes out and becomes a more effecient 20-6 type player somewhere else, then fine.

      But, like you said, it won’t happen here. So, theres really no reason to keep him.

      • Why can’t it happen here? He was playing all-star level basketball just last season before getting injured. He’s proven that he’s capable to play at a high level.That’s less than a year ago! Yes, he’s struggled mightily but he came in injured and now he’s injured again.

        Also, I don’t agree with all the talk about him not wanting to work hard. He improved his numbers his first 5 seasons in the L and his numbers only dipped slightly last season despite his struggles. I really think Bargnani is being scapegoated (is that even a word?) for all the Raptors problems these last few years. People expect the team to win despite continually having a very limited roster.

        • Seriously? I thought we were done with this whole 13-game stretch talk. Andrea is not going to reach his potential on the Raptors.

          Of course Bargnani is going to be labelled as the scapegoat, why would Colangelo blame himself for the situation? He’s done absolutely nothing wrong, it’s a focus issue!


  10. Awwwwwwww yeeeeaaahhhhh

  11. Do you think Sacramento would strait up Cousins for Primo?


  13. Very disappointing to see how many fans still think he should be allowed to come back, rejoin the team and regain a spot in the rotation even through the events of the last 3 weeks added on to everything from over the last 7+ years.

    This is an organization and a front office that dumped Hedo Turkoglu to anyone who would take his contract because they saw him as a problem, dumped James Johnson for nothing because they saw him as a bad character guy, let Chris Bosh walk because they weren’t proactive enough to trade him. Don’t give me this “they need to get value” bullshit, it’s that type of mentality that has hamstrung this franchise when it comes to Bargnani for the better part of a decade. You take any offer to move him right now and into the early part of the summer or you amnesty him. There is no room for him on this roster.

    • Exactly ! The fans in T.O gotta wake up to this BS, and get rid of him, its not just his game, its his no-crap given attitude. Action speaks louder than words, but I really do hope he’s gone.

  14. Just bring him off the bench when he comes back and see if he buys into the team basketball the Raps are currently playing. If he does, and the team continues to play well, then yay, the Raps just got better. If he doesn’t, then stick him on the bench and take whatever you can get for him in a trade and just move on. It should be this simple. Enough being patient with him and trying to figure this enigma out.

  15. Yea lets bring him off the bench so he can go 2 for 15 with 1 board along with garbage defence . You guys dont get it . “he” doesnt wanna play D he has no passion . Hes a 7 foot Sg who cant even hit threes half the time

    • Half the time? He hasn’t been hitting his threes 70% of the time this season. I wish he only missed half the time.

  16. Will Work For Pasta! is all Bargs Knows Get rid of this Looser already!!! Id even take the Corpse of Hakeem in return! or a rack of towels even! just get rid of him already

  17. I’d love to see Bargnani play for Popovic. He would get pulled from the game so damn fast, and get absolutely ripped into while having that damn ‘confused gerbil’ look on his face the whole time.

  18. Let him come of the bench. Then he can piss and moan, and publicly demand a trade.

  19. I’d trade Bargs for a bag of potatoes chips. The guy is utterly usesless. Absolute poison for this young team trying to find their way.

  20. Sullinger for AB. You heard it here first. A # 21 rook for a # 1 with experience will be a very good deal for the Raps if Boston has cap space. Or we take Jeff Green (currently sucking) and throw in the overrated Ed (sucked big last night).

  21. As a raptors fan, i had a great deal of fun even though i had a myriad of frustration. Aiming for championship is too high but not unreacheable to our relentless imagination. Andrea could have been a fancy imagination of a hero but he’s afterall human like you and me. Those defeats were gone and we are thinking about the fun that is fighting for another game. Why not leave it for tomorrow and who knows our dreams will come true. Take it easy.

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