STILL DIGGIN' THE BARGS
Andrea Bargnani may have played just 31 games this season, but it was enough for both Bryan Colangelo and Dwane Casey to consider him “on board” with the new direction this team is headed.
Bargnani’s season may have been thwarted by injuries, but before those injuries took him away from the court, Casey was able to get Bargnani to buy into his defensive scheme, something no one saw coming a year ago.
Casey said it was a combination of being demanding and being very specific with his expectations, not just for Bargnani but all of the Raptors players.
“The one thing that I appreciate about Andrea is he allowed me to coach him as hard as any star player will allow a coaching staff and myself to coach him,” Casey said. “I know (legendary Italian) coach (Ettore) Messina coached him hard as a young kid and he responded. And I was on him as hard as anyone else, but in a respectable way. I didn’t demean him or anything like that, but if he made a mistake, he knew about it. He responded to that.”
Casey felt Bargnani also responded to his philosophy of laying out exactly what was expected of Bargnani and every other player on the roster.
“We had specific rules and a system and I think that’s important to certain players because they want to know exactly what their job is on the defensive end,” Casey said. “I don’t think a player on this team didn’t know what their job was on the defensive end.”
Colangelo said the how’s and why’s of Bargnani’s defensive emergence don’t interest him in the least.
“You might say it was the system, you might say it was the coach motivating him,” Colangelo said. “Bottom line, he was better, he was more effective for us. Don’t really care why he was.”