To me, this says that Bargnani is entirely capable of playing defense
We knew Bargnani was capable of playing defense before this season started. Why? Because we've seen him do it before. In stretches, he's played pretty solid D and has been a half decent rebounder. His capabilities haven't been in question for a long time now, it's his focus and his effort level at those 2 things. You can always count on him for an offensive explosion here and there but you never know what you're gonna get on the other end of the floor. And we've seen a large enough sample to know that more often than not he's gonna be lazy, he won't go after many rebounds he has to fight for, and his rotations are usually gonna be a step slow. IMO, trade him and move on. But then again, I could say that until i'm blue in the face, everyone knows my stance by now.
I think I've finally come to the perfect Bargnani comparison for anyone that needs a bit of perspective on what he has been and what he likely will be. From the initial Okur and Rik Smits comparisons (we only wish) to the 7 foot Jamal Crawford, I've finally pinned it down.
Look over Harrington's career and you'll see they are practically identical. Perimeter-based big men who can become dangerous every now and then when their jump shot is on with some ability to get to the free throw line. With all that you get very poor rebounding and no impact whatsoever in terms of team defense.
The Raptors right now are building around Al Harrington. Let that sink in.
That's a pretty good comparison. And Harrington is playing a 6th man role for Denver which is something I remember you saying on here before is the best way to utilize a player like Bargnani
On assessing Bargnaniís year: ďBelieve me, pre-injury, he was rolling. He played like an all-star. I said that. I meant it. Offensively and defensively. He was a great surprise to me at the beginning of the year, just the way he played. He played at a high level. Then the injury happened and he never really came back 100%. He started getting his stride going a little bit offensively. Defensively, he really wasnít the same guy when he first came back. Then, just as soon as he started to turn the corner both ways with his timing, thatís when he re-injured it again. Itís been an up-and-down roller coaster for him this year.Ē
On the biggest surprise: ďHis defence, his ability to play defence, his quickness and speed on the defensive end, to move his feet, take charges, impact the ball on pick-and-roll coverages and just using his length on the defensive end: That was surprising. I had never seen it. I saw it. He showed it. As my grandfather said, he told himself [he could do it.] I know now he can do it. So, thatís going to be the command coming back next year, to give us the same performance, that same effort and performance on the defensive end. We know what he can do offensively. And then the more we add offensive players, the more our guys add here, DeMar [DeRozan], Eddie [Davis], the more our guys develop offensively, itís going to enhance his game because now itís going to open him up more. They just canít just key in on him.Ē
On having faith that Bargnani is the player who started the season: ďThatís all I have to go on. I wish I had more. Thatís all I have to go on. Itís enough for me. I know Andrea can play. He can play. He can do things offensively. He can do things defensively. Weíve just got to improve our players around him. They must get better. They will get better. ď
Every year is an up and down roller coaster year for him, Casey is just new to the team so i'm sure he's not really used to it. Plus, I also strongly feel like it's a case of him saying the right things to keep his job. Imagine if he went out and said "Bargnani is sub par on the defensive end, his rebounding is below average, and I don't have faith in him as a player." At nearly 27 years old and 6 seasons in, i'm pretty confident in saying that those are aspects of his game that probably aren't going to see any significant improvement from here on out.