Phil Jackson, the New York Knicks and the fans were intrigued by Andrea Bargnani to begin the 2013-14 season. With the implementation of the reimagine offense it was thought that Bargnani could have a profound impact. There was the possibility that he could thrive and propel the Knicks, along with Carmelo Anthony, into the postseason. The incentive of it being a contract year also helped the belief in that case. Sadly, nothing remotely close to that happened.
After missing the final 40 games of the previous season due to his inability to fly, Bargnani was once again struck by the injury bug. He has played just 17 games this season. With Bargnani out for such a long period of time many labeled Bargnani a lost cause and gave up him rightfully so.
Since returning to the lineup and with the departure of Carmelo Anthony, Bargnani has lived up to the hype that was there prior to the beginning of the season. Bargnani has become a consistent threat offensively, he has found success with his mid and long distance jump-shot as well as in the post. Bargnani has returned to being elusive off the dribble, getting to rim and flushing it with force.
It’s all well and good offensively but it’s the same, old and disappointing story on the defensive end. Bargnani has never been a poor defender on ball but off the ball his awareness and help defense is atrocious. Bargnani is just an embarrassment on the glass, averaging 4.3 per game as a 7 footer. In 37 minutes against Phoenix he recorded just one, single rebound.
With Bargnani missing so much time and spending a fair potion of time away from the time it looked almost certain that he wouldn’t be a Knick next season. Management and fans alike were fed up with the Italian. Bargnani has shocked many with his stellar play recently and now people are split on weather to re-sign or to discard Bargnani. It seemed as though there was a clear plan and Bargnani and his play have thrown a spanner into the works.
The questions stands as to re-sign, or not to re-sign Bargnani?
Bargnani has found success in the triangle and he has been reasonably consistent considering he spend a long stint on the sideline. The former first overall pick has been the Knicks main offensive option in recent times and Bargnani has provided quality minutes on the offensive end.
Let’s put that aside for a while, we know Bargnani fits into the scheme of things offensively but does he fit into the big picture? The big picture being all aspects of the game.
Derek Fisher and his staff have made defense and everything that goes with it as the main priority. That includes, on and off ball defense, switching, rotations, help, communication and rebounding. As you can see it leaves the Phil Jackson is a difficult situation. Bargnani is offensively oriented and New York aims to be defensively orientated.
Bargnani is now into his eighth season and his poor defensive instincts and inability rebound may be to for gone to change. They say old habits die hard but that often only applies to younger players. Bargnani stands at 7 feet tall and for his career he averages 4.3 rebounds per game. When help defense is supposed to be provided Bargnani looks completely lost and unaware of what is going on around him. It seems to be like he expects someone else to do it for him. The 29-year old has never been a poor on ball defender, he is well built which makes him immovable. For a big man he’s quite light on his feet compared to others. Bargnani has an odd knack for blocking shots.
Offensively he fits the brief. One area where big men need to be skilful in the triangle is decision making. Bargnani is a relatively good passer but when it comes down to making decisions it quite hilarious to watch. It’s not rare to see the ball go crashing into the crowd with no teammates in the vicinity of the ball. Bargnani often gets court in two minds, he’ll leave his feet to shoot but radically decides to dish off a sloppy pass to a teammate in a worse position.
Bargnani and his scoring ways are beneficial to the triangle. New York has struggled to score all season and no help was provided for Carmelo Anthony this season. The 7 footer he can be plagued by inconsistent shooting and poor decision making. The defensive scheme New York has in place is one where everybody plays their part, where teammates trust one another and Bargnani is a nightmare to watch in this defensive system.
It looked almost certain that Bargnani’s days as a Knick were numbered but with his recent uprising it has left Phil Jackson with a difficult decision to make. There are both pros and cons of re-signing Bargnani.
Be honest, had you given up on Bargnani? Had you given up all hope? Were you frustrated and fed up? Were you 100% positive that you wanted Bargnani off the team? Bargnani has definitely thrown a spanner in the works, that spanner being his play. There was a grand plan in everybody’s imagination and a majority probably didn’t contain Andrea Bargnani, he has interfered with the utopian roster. Has this recent stretch made you second guess your original feelings?