The review? Bargnani's performance was impressive, if flawed. While his stat line -- 16 points, 7-for-13 shooting, five rebounds and three blocks in 25 minutes -- was solid, he made a number of defensive mistakes.
He often looked confused as to whom he was guarding. Blatt's demand that he guard threes, fours and fives in different situations seemed to have his head spinning. He also was pushed around in the paint by physical players such as Bagaric and Travis Watson. A few silly fouls kept him off the court a little longer than Blatt would have liked.
And on offense Bargnani was too passive at times, passing up shots.
But for his first appearance in the Italian League finals?
"I thought he was great," Blatt said after the game. "People forget how young he is and that this is his first year playing in games like these. I couldn't be prouder. He helped us win this game tonight from beginning to end. He makes mistakes, but he's been doing this at this level for one year. I've been doing it for 25 and I still make a few."
I talked to several NBA executives after the game, and all came away impressed.
"If you know anything about basketball overseas," one executive said, "then you know the type of pressure and competition that kid played against tonight. The players are better than college and the intensity is greater than just about anything you'll ever come up against. Do you know how crazy you all [in the media] would be going if an NBA rookie put up a performance like that in the Finals? He's going to be just fine."
"I'm not objective," Blatt said. "But I'm a big believer in his potential and I'm amazed at what he's been able to do. He has the basketball life of a 1-year-old. He's handled the pressure and scrutiny he's under beautifully. He has the physical tools and the mental and emotional makeup of a star. He's bigger, tougher and stronger than people think. He's passionate, willful and determined. If he can go to the right place, his upside is enormous."
Il Mago might eventually be a bust in the NBA. Or he might be star.
He might not become the next Nowitzki or Gasol, but he's no Tskitishvili either. Unlike Skita, he's performed on the big stage, without smoke and mirrors.
And maybe, just maybe, if he has one trick left up his sleeve, he'll be the No. 1 pick in the 2006 NBA Draft.