Though Starring Now, Bargnani is Too High of a Risk

The New York Knicks acquired Andrea Bargnani through trade with the Toronto Raptors prior to the 2013-14 season. This trade was supposed to be the move that got the Knicks over the hump, to challenge the Miami Heat and Indiana Pacers for the first overall seed in the eastern conference. In retrospect and at the time it was a terrible trade. New York took on $11 million of salary and discarded a first round pick. And while he is performing at a high level as of late, re-signing him is too high of a risk.

I’ll Have an Injury, With a Side of Injuries

Bargnani was sidelined for the final 40 games of the 2013-14 regular season after crash landing against Philadelphia. He has been unable to shake injuries, which has forced him to stay on the sideline for extended periods of time. In the past four seasons Bargnani has appeared in just 198 games, this season he has appeared in 24 games and the Knicks have only 9 games remaining.

Ball Is Life
Ball Is Life

It is not as though Bargnani misses a game here or there, he is usually out of action for months.

Year by year games missed:

2011-12: 51 games
2012-13: 47 games
2013-14: 40 games
2014-15: 49 games (8 games remaining)

As you can clearly see, Bargnani is an injury magnet. A common theme with his injuries is that it usually begins as a niggling injury, but then it gets completely out of hand. The triangle is a system that allows you to play almost your entire roster, Bargnani and his trail of injuries would be a waste of a roster spot as it could be filled by somebody that could contribute and play more than 40 games per season.

Defense? What’s That?

Andrea Bargnani is a complete and utter nightmare defensively. He keeps coaches up all night. Although Bargnani doesn’t look like a horrible on-ball defender, he is. Bargnani gives up 111 points per 100 possessions. He may as well roll out the red carpet and escort you to the rim.

It only gets worse, Bargnani is a horrendous help defender. He often just leaves a player to go up uncontested, it is as though Bargnani expects someone else to play help defense for him. A major reason for his poor defense is his defensive awareness and I.Q. On an all too consistent basis does a guard sneak back-door behind Bargnani for an easy basket.

Derek Fisher and his staff are preaching defense. Fisher, an 18 year veteran, knows that defense is what separates the good teams from the elite teams. The Knicks are striving to become a solid defensive team. Defense is the Knicks new culture and Andrea Bargnani cannot add anything to that.

I’m 7’0″, but I Rebound Like I’m 6’3″

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For a seven-footer who weighs 240 pounds, Bargnani is an awful rebounder. His rebounding rate is one board per seven and a half minutes. The Knicks have struggled all season long to control and protect the glass. They often give up obscene amounts of offensive rebounds. Due to his poor awareness, Bargnani is a non-factor when it comes to rebounding. He ball watches rather than finding his man and boxing him out.

To say that Bargnani is a sub-par rebounder is an understatement. To score the ball you have to secure the rebounding defensively. On a far to regular basis do the Knicks play 23 seconds of defense to only allow an offensive rebound. When Bargnani gets beaten on the boards he has a propensity to commit silly pushing fouls.

Bargnani stands at 7’0″ but only averages four rebounds a game in 30 minutes of action. He gives up far too many offensive rebounds which lead to easy second-chance baskets, Bargnani also commits silly fouls that a 14-year-old wouldn’t commit. These fouls comes back to haunt the team as he gives the opposition a free foul that will eventually lead the Knicks to be over the foul limit in crucial times. New York also have no players who’s identity and job is to rebound the basketball. At this point is his career it is unlikely that Bargnani can mend his issues and be a force when rebounding for the Knicks.

How High’s My Basketball Intelligence Quotient?

The triangle requires a big man that has a relatively high I.Q. as they have to make on-point passes, set screens in the right places and move to the correct spots when playing off the ball. Sadly, Andrea Bargnani has an extremely low basketball I.Q. The former overall pick has an assist to turnover ratio of 1.13. He is often caught in two minds which result in passes to celebrity’s in the front row.

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Bargnani also becomes confused when moving without the ball. He was teriffic at finding the holes last season but the change of system has dwarfed his ability. It’s not rare to see Bargnani move on in the wrong direct or run into a teammate. He also sets poor screens and regularly gets whistled for moving picks.

As was stated above, Bargnani is hopeless on the defensive end and his low I.Q. contributes to that. His inability to make the correct reads defensively, which results in poor help defense, are not a help to the team. Another aspect of Bargnani’s lowered intelligence is his rebounding as he struggles to find his man, box his opponent out and securing the basketball.

Re-signing Andrea Bargnani would be a gamble that could result in the loss of all chips. His battles with injuries and the length of those injuries, his poor rebounding and defense as well as low a low basketball I.Q. warrant that Bargnani should not return next season. Bargnani’s weaknesses lie in areas which the Knicks are emphasising – it’s not a recipe for success, rather for disaster. Bargnani is being paid $11 million this season and although he will not get offered anything close to that Phil Jackson and his counterparts have the ability to draft, sign or trade for a player who fits the brief.

To gage Andrea Bargnani’s value and to make a decision to either re-sign him or to let him walk without the centrepiece, Carmelo Anthony, in the lineup is illogical. He may be playing well now but it is unknown as to how Bargnani would slide in with Carmelo Anthony and when he’s not the primary offensive source.

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