It has been seven years, and the Raptors may have to simply accept that big man Andrea Bargnani, the No. 1 pick from the 2006 draft, will always have the limitations that have been obvious throughout his career.
Bargnaniís ability as a perimeter player has been his big positive, but he has never developed the post-up game the team had hoped for, and though he has gotten to be an average defender (thatís an improvement), he is still a poor rebounder. He has especially struggled this year, in which he has averaged 16.2 points on just 35.8 percent shooting. His 4.4 rebounds are his lowest average since his second season in the NBA.
And Bargnani has appeared frustrated at times during the year.
ďAndrea is who he is,Ē coach Dwane Casey said. ďIf youíre looking for rah-rah guy thatís not him. He doesnít show expression. Again thatís who he is. That doesnít make him a bad guy or bad basketball player or whatever. But I do know that there are players who are like that who just donít show any expression which doesnít bother me. My thing is, you know, just be consistent. ... I donít care about his expression. I donít care if a guyís a rah-rah guy or jumping up and down as long heís putting the ball in the hole and playing defense.Ē
Bargnani himself admits that the Raptorsí record in recent years is wearing on him, and he feels some pressure to turn things around.
ďMe personally, I would never say itís too early to worry,Ē Bargnani said. ďIt has been four years now that we have had a losing record, so itís definitely not early for me, Jose (Calderon), and the other guys that have been around. Nobody is thinking that itís too early. We definitely have to turn it around and we are going to play better starting now