Season Stats: 66 GP, 35.7 MPG, 21.4 PPG, 44.8 FG%, 34.5 3PT%, 82 FT%, 5.2 RPG, 1.8 APG, 0.7 BPG
Career Stats: 367 GP, 30.2 MPG, 15.1 PPG, 44.1 FG%, 37.1 3PT%, 81.7 FT%, 4.9 RPG, 1.2 APG, 0.9 BPG
Of all the player evaluations, I have a feeling this one will generate the most buzz and debate. After all, there’s a reason Bryan Colangelo referred to Andrea Bargnani as the “enigma of all enigmas to you and many.”
I’ll try not to go on a very long rant about Bargnani, because I’ve done that enough over the last few years, and everything I write in this post has already been said too many times.
Hopefully for the last time, here’s my take on Bargnani’s season and his future with the Raptors organization.
Let me make this clear from the beginning: Andrea Bargnani’s 2010-11 season was a disappointment. Yes, Bargnani finished 16th in the NBA in scoring and finished second in scoring among centres, but we already knew he could score. I fully expected Bargnani to be a 20-point scorer as the focal point of the offence and assumed we’d see him use more of a mix of an inside-outside game.
What was concerning on the offensive end for Bargnani was that despite taking a greater number of higher-percentage shots as opposed to three-pointers, his field goal percentage barely improved, and his three-point percentage actually dipped.
But the most troubling signs from Bargnani came on the other end of the floor. It’s one thing if he simply didn’t improve defensively or on the glass – then at least we could say he reached a ceiling in those areas of his game. But Andrea’s defence and rebounding actually took drastic steps back this season. In the 2008-2009 season, Bargnani grabbed 5.3 rebounds per game in 31.4 minutes per game. Then in the 2009-2010 season, Bargnani showed some promise by taking down 6.2 rebounds in 35 minutes. With an even more increased role this season, natural progression should have seen him up his average to at least seven rebounds per game. He fell well short of that mark – in fact, he grabbed less rebounds than the previous two seasons despite playing more minutes. And don’t give me the “Reggie grabbed everything” excuse, because Reggie Evans missed a significant chunk of the season.
On the defensive end, Bargnani was never going to be a legitimate defensive force. However, again, he had shown signs over the last two seasons of at least becoming somewhat of a shot-blocking presence. In 2008-09 and 2009-10, Bargnani blocked a very respectable 1.2 and 1.4 shots per game. And yet just as his rebounding numbers did, Bargnani’s blocks per game decreased despite more minutes this season.
Some believe that Bargnani needed this season to get acclimated to his new role as the offensive centre-piece, and therefore couldn’t devote the necessary attention to defence. To those that raise this argument, I beg you, please do not take the same kind of soft, excuse-making and laid-back approach to raising children as you do to coddling Andrea Bargnani. Our society doesn’t need any more spoiled kids looking for excuses.
I have said forever, and will continue to say, that Andrea Bargnani has the natural talent to be a 25-point, eight-rebound and two-blocks type of player. Potential and natural ability have never been and will never be an issue for Andrea. The problem will always be what he does with that ability, and so far, the results show that he won’t take full advantage of it.
I once wrote a post on Bargnani comparing him to the great line in A Bronx Tale that states “the saddest thing in life is wasted talent.” I don’t think I need to explain any further how Bargnani and that quote go hand in hand.
I’m still stubborn enough to believe that paired with a dominant defensive post-presence, Bargnani will realize some of his potential and could become an All Star. But I am also of the opinion that if you have to make certain moves just to “cover” a player’s flaws, then it might be easier to simply move that flawed player.
So if Dwight Howard somehow falls in your lap, or you find a way to land that dominant defensive post-presence, then you keep Andrea and probably watch him flourish. But the fact is that’s not going to happen, and based on that fact, whoever is running this team come the summer or the end of a possible lockout must find a way to part with the “enigma of all enigmas.”
Scott Carefoot’s take on Andrea Bargnani
Joseph said pretty much everything I would have said in regards to my complaints about “Il Mago”, so my contribution will be to reiterate my belief that you can’t succeed in the NBA with somebody as negligent in the responsibilities of defense and rebounding as Bargnani. There are Bargnani fans who feel like the franchise has failed him more than the other way around, and they are welcome to continue rooting for him when he is mercifully shipped out after five frustrating seasons in Toronto. If you choose to continue to believe that he is a unique talent who only needs the right environment to flourish, that’s your prerogative. I will be more than willing to admit I was wrong about him when that situation occurs. I’m still waiting for all the Turkoglu fans who felt like I was disrespecting their national treasure to throw his post-Raptors success in my face. Until then, I want his goldbricking ass traded to another team regardless of the return. I’m not a Bargnani hater, I’m a Raptors fan — and I’m convinced this team won’t achieve any kind of meaningful success as long as Bargnani is considered a significant building block.
After getting this big one one out of the way, my next player evaluation will focus on Jerryd Bayless. Look for that post early next week.