There is no doubt even the casual fan has observed Andrea Bargnani’s growth this year. This post helps quantify how much better, clearly shows how his game has developed and highlights one key piece still missing in his repertoire.
Molto Bene Bargnani
Two key criticisms about Bargnani’s game was his lack of rebounding (especially for a 7 footer), and propensity for weak fouls – and sometimes overall defence. We averaged Bargnani’s first three years and compared them to this year’s numbers. I normalized the data to a per 36 minute standard for better comparisons.
His rebounding performance this year nicely stands out. As well, which is obvious this year, he’s become a much better shot blocker. What I was slightly surprised at is his significant reduction in turnovers and personal fouls. He not only improved his defensive positioning, but also seems to be getting a bit more respect from the referees this year.
Meanwhile, Bargnani has also markedly improved his true shooting and effective FG percentages and rebounding percentages – especially at the offensive end.
Finally, Bargnani has significantly improved his adjusted +/- scores (everyone’s favourite metric). Last year, by this metric, his ability to shoot threes was offset by several other liabilities (lack of rebounding on both ends, below average defence, etc.>). Thus, overall he appeared to not to help his team win games. However, so far this year, Bargnani is turning it around.
The above analysis is all about results. I also wanted to analyse what helped drive these results. I’m pleased with the maturation of Bargnani’s game. I appreciate his “new found” aggression towards the hoop. The charts I created with the data are telling. Bargnani isn’t just a 3 point shooting 7 footer anymore – he’s using both this size to create in the paint as well. The change is shot distribution is dramatic (and welcomed!). Think of having to defend Andrea this year. He now has a few different ways to hurt you and is no longer is living and dying by the three ball.
Vivo Agressivo Andrea!
One major issue remains with Bargnani’s development. I always thought of him as a “ball stopper”. I’m personally a big fan of crisp and frequent movement of the ball on offense – in order to keep the defence honest. This makes it more difficult for double teams in the post and also creates space for players like Jack and Turkoglu to do their thing. #Ball. While there isn’t a perfect measure of capturing this, assist per field goal attempt is a reasonable metric to use. And Bargnani is among the very worst (9th of 143) of all forwards/centres that have played over 500 minutes.
Pass the #ball a little more Andrea. Your teammates will give it back and create easier opportunities for you.