Andrea Bargnani and Tim Thomas?

According to ESPN’s Stat Psychic/Hair Club For Men Client John Hollinger, at this stage in his career, Il Mago most closely resembles Tim Thomas. (you have to be an ESPN Insider to read the article. Join the club, Hoops fans – or piggyback on someone else’s profile, like I do). Not that Hollinger has a history of getting things right…but seriously? Not Dirk, not Bill Walton…but Tim Thomas.

I didn’t buy the comparison either until I found this rare photo of both Tim and Andrea as children. Yes, Tim Thomas is black…but what you didn’t know is that he wasn’t born that way.

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Andrea Bargnani (R) and Tim Thomas (L) before puberty.

As you can see, Hollinger has an open-and-shut case. So let’s take a closer look at these two nearly identical basketball players, and how their identical paths lead them to identical NBA careers.

Hometown:
Tim Thomas: The Mean Streets of Jersey.
Bargnani: The Mean Streets of Rome.

Similarity: Both grew up around Italians.

Pre-NBA Career:
Thomas: Played one year in Villanova before declaring for the draft.
Bargnani: Played 4 professional years in Italy.

Similarities: I’m no linguist, but Villanova sounds like it could be Italian for ‘new villa’.

Career Stats:
Thomas: 11.9 points per game, 1.4 assists per game, and four rebounds per game.
Bargnani: Rookie season stats: 11.8, 4 rbs., 0.8 assists.

Similarities: Bargnani has accomplished over one season what Thomas has put together in the prime of his career.

Rookie Season accolades:
Thomas voted to Second team All-Rookie 1997-98.
Bargnani First Team All-Rookie, second in ROY voting.

Similarities: Both were rookies.

Trademark Skills:
Thomas: Range and Athleticism. Ability to bounce from team to team with ease.
Bargnani: Range and lack of athleticism. Ability to bounce no-look behind-the-back passes to Bosh.

Patented In-Game Look:
Thomas: The “I-Didn’t-Get-’Nuff-Touches” Scowl.
Bargnani: The “I’m-Still-In-A-Pasta-Coma” Doe-Eyed Stare.

Nickname:
Andrea Bargnani: Il Mago (The Magician).
Tim Thomas: TT (Pronounced, “titty”)

2007-08 forecast:
Tim Thomas: Averages 14ppg on a horrid Clippers team, doesn’t show up for practices come January, may or may not smack a ho, and is waived by April.
Andrea Bargnani: 17ppg, 6rpg, 3apg, starting center on defending Atlantic Division champions, potential consecutive Raptors Player of the Month.

On fellow NBA stars:
“He’s fugazy as far as the whole tough guy role. You get techs and you get fines and that makes you tough? Because your game is wild and crazy, that makes you tough? When a scuffle breaks out, you have 13 guys that can protect you. When it’s you and someone else, what happens then? Somebody call Don King and hook it up for us.”
- Tim Thomas on Kenyon Martin

“But I think Kobe Bryant is a step above everyone. LeBron James is very strong but Kobe is something else.”
- Andrea Bargnani

Fun facts:
Tim Thomas: Has been traded for Keith Van Horn (aka the Great White Socks) twice.
Bargnani: Has also been known to wear socks.

As you can see, the parallels abound. Another Tim Thomas in the making, over here in Canada (or as Tim Thomas calls it, ‘Coldland’.) Another apt observation by Hollinger, or as his gang calls him, Johnny Forehead.

The twins, all grown up:

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