As fantastic as the advanced stat movement is, I think there are some cases where it doesn't tell the entire story. While breaking down every play on an individual basis provides more insight on the game then ever from an analytical point of view, it doesn't always capture that basketball is a team sport where five pieces have to interact in order to be successful. When I watch Bargnani play my feeling on just about every single night is that he's a terrible defender. There's been a few odd games over the last five years where I feel like he may be starting to get it but he usually regresses within minutes. I don't think anyone would argue that he's a good defender, and the term "terrible" is pretty subjective so I guess it's all about where you draw the line.
I'd like to think that I watch the games with an open mind but maybe there's a little bias developing. Although, I'm a pretty loyal (read: sad and desperate) Raptors fan - I'm on the JV, Ed, Amir, DD, Casey bandwagons after all - so if I thought there was any chance of Bargnani turning into a decent defender anytime soon I'd probably gobble it up. Sadly, I don't think it's going to happen and it frustrates me that the team's direction is still building around a player like that. The talk of hiding him in a system like they did with Dirk in Dallas is crazy to me because Bargs is nowhere near his level in virtually all other aspects of the game. We're talking about one of the more transcendent and crafty offensive players in the history of the game against a 7 footer whose admittingly a match up problem on most nights but also a volume shooter and a ball stopper. And that doesn't even take into account that Dirk is a much better defensive rebounder than Bargnani.
Last edited by Fully; Fri Aug 5th, 2011 at 08:56 AM.
One problem I have is when people take his post defense and exaggerate it. It's adequate. It's not good. Not overall. Against certain types of players he does pretty well, but e also can struggle in the post if a player has quick feet and good footwork.
As for watching with an open mind, I watch EVERYONE with an open mind but after a while you start to see things over and over and over again and you can't ignore them. People think I'm biased when it comes to Bargnani, but it's just that I've been watching him play nearly every game for 5 years. I know what to expect. It doesn't mean I'm biased.
I was reading a bunch of people "discuss" if we should trade Bargs now or wait until the end of the season, when i had came up with a great idea!
Why dont we keep Bargs for a month or two after the season starts, and let Casey (and Colangelo) decide if his defence rises to a suitable level (not completely terrible). If he does not trade him before other teams have done their research or make up some BS reason about not having a full season to make him improve. Hopefully, by doing this we will know if he will be able to improve defencively while other teams may not have the chance to judje him. If he improves and will fit in with the team great, if not his stock will not drop to much.
He also will be the same age so his 'potential' should not change either.
Zach Lowe has been ranking the Top 100 players in the NBA.
Demar got a runner up selection, and I was really wondering if any of our guys would make the list. Well we can rest easy, as Andrea came through.
Good write up on Andrea:
66. Andrea Bargnani
F-C, Toronto Raptors
2010-11 Stats: 21.4 PPG, 44.8 FG%, 34.5 3PT%, 5.2 RPG, 1.8 APG
Many will hate this ranking, I realize. The Bargnani devotees who see the next Nowitzki — still — will yell and scream about how there is no way a guy who averaged 21.4 points per game should rank this low. And then there are those who believe that Bargnani’s historically bad rebounding makes him one of the worst players in NBA history.
The truth is he’s somewhere in between, which is why we’re going to place him here — a dismally low spot for a No. 1 overall draft pick. But Bargnani is still a reasonably good player who could work in the right context (i.e. not as a No. 1 scoring option, surrounded by inexperienced or poor defenders). He is indeed terrible on the glass — one of the worst big man rebounders who has ever played in the NBA. That matters. To say he’s an equally bad defender is both true and too general. As Sebastian Pruiti has pointed out, Synergy numbers have consistently painted Bargnani as a solid defender in the post and in one-on-one situations. That is not a made-up thing or an exercise in excuse-making. The numbers are there, and the evidence is there on the video, if you remove the anti-Bargnani blinders.
Unfortunately, the trouble starts when Bargnani has to move around the court, either to quash a pick-and-roll, help a teammate or dart out toward a shooter. He has never been much good at any of this. And this is the stuff big men have to be better at now, in an era where there aren’t too many back-to-the-basket brutes who play to Bargnani’s relative strengths.
Add it all up, including the rebounding, and you’ve got a subpar big man defender at the center of just about every dismal Raptors lineup that took the floor last season.
Ranking him here, at No. 66 and above a few intriguing bigs, reflects the confidence that Bargnani’s shooting percentages will rebound to their career norms, and that a slowly changing team context in Toronto — the hiring of Dwane Casey and the maturation of DeMar DeRozan, Ed Davis and others — will turn Bargnani into a better player and serve to hide his weaknesses a bit more.
If Bargnani continues to flounder on defense, Gortat and Ibaka are going to blow right past him as all-around players. And if you wanted to put all of the four preceding big men — Gortat, Varejao, Ibaka and Okafor – ahead of Bargnani now, I wouldn’t argue.
Bargnani was a less efficient scorer last season, since his three-point percentage dropped to 34.5 percent — around the league average — and his overall mark dropped along with it. In his defense, Bargnani is miscast as a No. 1 scoring option. Having a 7-footer who can shoot threes should help your team because it loosens up spacing so much, but the benefits are lost to some degree when you’re asking a third or second banana to do first-banana work.
Bargnani should be an asset, especially since he started to get the line at an above-average rate last season. And given how alleged defensive sieves have turned their careers around when gifted better playing environments, it’s fun to wonder if Bargnani could emerge as a neutral defender under a guru coach and alongside an elite defensive player or two. Can that happen in Toronto? Hiring Casey is a start.
Last edited by Joey; Thu Aug 4th, 2011 at 11:17 PM.
"I have self-doubt. I have insecurity. I have fear of failure. We all have self-doubt. You don't deny it, but you also don't capitulate to it. You embrace it. You rise above it." -Kobe Bryant
Who is Zach Lowe and how did he just describe Andrea Bargnani so well in a few paragraphs? Very impressive.
Ya, I'd put those four big men ahead of Bargnani because none of them are liabilities. I think being right behind Jamaal Crawford is fitting, since both are volume shooters that don't do it all that efficiently and don't do anything else very well. And more coincidentally, Crawford is a PG-sized player who can't play PG, and Bargnani is a center-sized big man who apparently can't play center (or PF, for that matter). Crawford is going to hurt your team a little less than Bargnani because he's not a big man, so his defense isn't as much of a liability.
The rankings are interesting. Do you rank which player is "better" or which player is better at winning? Obviously Turkoglu is a better player than Shane Battier, but which one would you want on your team? And it obviously doesn't take into account potential. I think most Raptor fans would take DeAndre Jordan over Bargnani, but strictly speaking Bargnani might be a better player right at this moment. That might very well change when the season ever starts.
I think im going to hold on passing judgement on Bargnani's defense until after he's traded to another team or he gets benched which results in the raps winning games.
Right now, the Raptors is a bad defensive team, period. I dont think Bargnani alone is the cause. The whole team is bad defensively.
I think its really hard to determine statistically whether a player is good or bad defensively, IMO. there are just way too many variables. There are picks, non-calls, etc. And a team does not play the exact same teams, the same number of times every season, meaning the Raps may play Orlando once this season and then three times the next, which definitely affects Bargnani's Opponent PER coz he's going to face Howard more times than the last season.
If Bargnani is traded to a good defensive team and that team plummets to a losing season, then its time to point the finger at Bargnani, but until then, every player on the Raps roster is bad defensively, IMO.
I hate the rumors about bargnani playing PF and Amir getting traded. Amir is one of my favorite raptors and i don't want to see him gone cuz of some shlub like bargnani that cant figure out how to play defense. IMO BC should be doing all he can to get rid of bargnani and get someone that is at least half decent on the defensive end.
The second problem is that just because Bargnani plays well for a month or two doesn't mean he's turned the corner. Ability has never been his problem. Consistency has. I wouldn't be shocked if Bargnani opened up the first month of the season averaging 23-7. I would be shocked if he carried that out over the entire season. In February of 09, he averaged 17.9 ppg and 7.1 rpg. In January of 2010, he averaged 18.2 ppg and 6.7 rpg. This past season he averaged 25.6 ppg in February. So if Bargnani comes out of the gate playing well, obviously the Raptors aren't going to want to trade him because he's playing well. And they'll only want to trade him if he regresses, which is almost guaranteed to happen. And by that time everyone will know he'll probably not have any more excuses left.
Thirdly, it assumes that you're in the camp that believes that Bargnani still has a fair bit more potential. I don't. The guy has never, ever shown the potential that some seemed to see in him. The whole reason I didn't want the Raptors to draft him in the first place was because he was a jumpshooting big man with absolutely no acumen for defense and rebounding. And here we are five years later and he's a jumpshooting big man with absolutely no acumen for defense and rebounding. Why is anyone surprised?
Lastly, and more importantly, it assumes that other teams don't scout other teams, or their scouts are complete morons. If Bargnani is still struggling, even with a good defensive coach, the entire league is going to know when he's being offered up that he's run out of excuses. And then the Raptors are going to be screwed.
The only reason to keep Bargnani is if you truly believe that he's got the potential to be a decent rebounder and defender, and he's never once shown that potential, so I really don't see why you would.
yet somehowone of the worst big man rebounders who has ever played in the NBA. That matters. To say heís an equally bad defender is both true and too general.
???youíve got a subpar big man defender at the center
I'm sorry this Pruitti logic of "I can't paint, sculpt, write, sing, act or design but I'm awesome at colouring books so I'm not to bad of an artist" is lost on me.
which is actually below what he shot last year (44.8% shooting vs 44.1% for his career)reflects the confidence that Bargnaniís shooting percentages will rebound to their career norms
yes he SHOULD be. And he WOULD be if his role was changed significantly and his contract cut in half.... but apparently those things won't happen. So instead what he has been is a liability.Bargnani should be an asset
its not fun at all if you are a non-italian Raptors fan.itís fun to wonder if Bargnani could emerge as a neutral defender under a guru coach and alongside an elite defensive player or two
I also wanted to mention... its quite ironic Lowe has Jamal Crawford as the next player on that list. Someone many have compared Andrea to. Someone who found their niche, after years of being on terrible teams, as the scoring punch off the bench... not someone who you use as a starter and try to fit 4 other players around (good defenders, good rebounders, experienced players and a top scorer as Lowe referred to in his article on Andrea).
Umm the schedules are pretty consistent. You play every team atleast twice. You play your conference opponents atleast 3 times (there are 4 teams in your division you play 3 times) . You play your divisional opponents 4 times.
The numbers aren't really that far off from one another. Plus its not like Bargnani is a rookie... people have 5 seasons, 367 games and 11k minutes to make a conclusion from. Over that time he has played/covered/been covered by a myraid of opponents from some of the worst in the league to the best. Statistics are best used with a large and varied sample to work from. Andrea has that. (by the way if Andrea's opponent was Dwight and only played him once that would be 1.2% of a season. If he played him 3 times that would be 3.6% of a season. Do you really believe that 2.4% of a season is going to make a significant difference to an individuals statistics?)
But if we are going to say there are too many variables to judge him defensively using stats, than the same argument should be made to his offense. Therefore we don't know if he is actually a good or bad offensive player until he plays on a good offensive team that either wins or losses right? In fact the same argument should also be made about every player to play the game as they have had more, less or the same amount of variables effecting their game/stats. Michael Jordan is no longer one of the best players to ever play... he can't be. Too many variables to judge it. In fact when Michael finally played for a different team he wasn't good, and neither was his team. Was it actually Michael Jordan's team that made him that 'good' then? Its not fair to say that POB is any worse than Michael as the number of variables between the two players career is off the charts.
Every player just is......
Lowe did a pretty good job in his description of Bargnani.
Lost in some of the Bargnani hate (which I admittingly take part in on a regular basis) is that he does have some strengths which could be quite valuable to an NBA team if used properly. However, I think the most frustrating part of the Bargnani experience is that he's being miscast as a franchise cornerstone, which you can't necessarily blame on Bargnani himself.
We were a fringe playoff team when Bargnani was our second best player, and when he was made the main option we won 22 games. He is a good offensive player but not a great one, and his defensive shortcomings have been well documented. Even those who support the "Bargnani isn't as terrible on D as you might think" movement seem to rank him as an overall sub-par defender, but one that is adequate in a few scenarios. He does not appear to be a great leader and I can't say that I see much in the way of chemistry between him and most of his teammates. He fails the crucial "Do you make your teammates better?" test that all great players should pass, and you can even make the argument that his lack of rebounding, poor help defense, and a tendency to shoot the ball whenever he gets his hands on it actually takes away from his teammates.
Please interrupt me when I list something that resonates with your idea of what a franchise cornerstone should be.
The Jamal Crawford comparison has been listed a couple times now and I think that's essentially what Bargnani will evole into, whether it's in Toronto or not. If a franchise were to build around Crawford or say, Ben Gordon, then they'd be crucified and for good reason. But because Andrea is half a foot taller I feel like people maintain that it's a viable option.
Last edited by Fully; Fri Aug 5th, 2011 at 10:26 AM.
Concering the makeup of the team: in my opinion that's all a matter of perspective. I think we need a good defensive force in the frontcourt with more length and strength than Davis and Johnson anyway; no matter if we keep Bargnani or not. Also: in any team you need balance, no matter who we are going to put out there in a couple of years it needs to be a balanced team; if we keep DeRozan we would need at least two other players who can shoot the three; that would not be building around DeRozan, that's just getting a balanced team out there.
I also think that Bargnani has some good traits on defense like stipulated in the article of Pruiti. I also think that the whole team was crap at rotating and closing down shooters with yes, Bargnani as the frontrunner in this department. Besides individual performances in teamdefense the ones I blame most for this is the coachingstaff. Having size in the frontcourt is incredibly important in this league right now if you look at the contending teams. A sevenfooter with at least a 7'2"/7'3" wingspan protecting the rim and the paint is a must and you probably need to pair him with another tall guy with good wingspan who is able to spread the floor (and I mean to win it all, not get a good regular season result). Davis and Amir don't have the physical makeup (and the skills) that are needed for this in my opinion. I might be wrong here, but that's the reason I'm not that high on Davis and Amir as starting powerforwards in the future. We'd still need that center and they would at least need to improve their ability to stretch the floor. The fact that Bargnani is such a terrible matchup for opponents, one that is very rare in the league, makes me interested to see what can happen if we have a more balanced team and better coaching. My opinion about this is based on the idea that if a team with Bargnani could work the ceiling for that team would be higher than if we would drop him and e.g. Ed Davis would work out.
Mr W., in an earlier post you said:
But then you have another problem. Do you spend a large chunk of your money on a towel when you don't even have a razor, shaving cream or access to water yet? And the only reason you are even shaving is to look good at the beach?
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