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Old 08-23-2012, 07:03 PM   #1
Legends66NBA7
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Default Score Article: Bargnani's Impressive Defensive Numbers

http://blogs.thescore.com/raptorblog...rs/#more-13588

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In the never ending debate about who or what Andrea Bargnani is as an NBAer, his defensive presence, or rather his perceived lack of a defensive presence, is often one of the starting points.

I began noticing an improvement in Bargnani’s defensive game during the second half of his third NBA season (the 2009 portion of the 2008-09 season), and for the most part, that defence has slowly continued to improve since then.

I never saw him as being worth a lick as a help-defender, but it was becoming obvious to me and others that at the very least, Bargs was evolving into an underrated one-on-one defender, if not a solid one. While Chris Bosh was getting praise for taking on more of a defensive role to help the U.S. capture Olympic gold in 2008, Bargnani might have been out-performing him on the defensive end in Toronto (Before you go apeshit on me, no, I am not suggesting Bargnani is better than Bosh, just that he was probably always a better one-on-one defender than Bosh was).

But even those of us who could see Bargnani’s defensive improvements couldn’t have expected this:
On Friday, well known NBA web writer Matt Moore dug into the statistics to write one of the better and more in-depth Bargnani pieces you’ll find. What Moore found in stats provided by Synergy Sports is that Andrea ranked in the 88th percentile in post defence, the 56th percentile in isolation defence and a mind blowing rank in the 95th percentile in overall man-to-man defence this past season.

Let that sink in for a moment.

What the Synergy stats don’t take into account is the very downfall of Bargnani’s defence, and that’s his absolute bewilderment when it comes to the concept of help-defence (Synergy’s defensive measure takes into account the man a player defends from possession to possession, but doesn’t take into account the fact that a player failed to rotate properly to cover a player who has blown by one of his teammates. If that now unmarked player scores, the onus falls on the player that was initially guarding the scorer, which is the player that was blown by).

Moore, though, does go into Bargnani’s help struggles in his fair assessment, which includes the observation that Bargs might almost be too locked in to his initial defensive assignment of guarding his own man.

You would hope that with Kyle Lowry replacing Jose Calderon as the defender at the point of attack, and with Landry Fields’ solid perimeter defence added to the starting lineup, Bargnani should have less to worry about when it comes to bailing out defensively helpless teammates. To his credit, Andrea was making a conscious effort to bust his ass on rotations in that 13-game sample of solid play last season. But having said that, he was having to bust his ass because he often didn’t pick up on the developing play until it was nearly too late.

(Random sidenote: Maybe Bargnani’s just not a multi-tasker and needs to be focused on one thing (his own man) at a time. Maybe he’s one of those guys on the subway that has to take his ear buds/music out of his ears before he starts reading anything. There’s nothing wrong with that. Sometimes if I’m really tired on the morning commute, I can’t do both at the same time either. But you can obviously see how that lack of multi-tasking ability might make it difficult to be a good help-defender in the NBA.)

Anyway, moving on…

Bargnani can never be a complete defensive player without a presence on the defensive boards. I’ve never been hung up on Bargs’ poor offensive rebounding numbers, because part of his increasingly effective offensive game involves him playing away from the basket half of the time, but there will never be a valid excuse to pardon a seven-footer for averaging less than five defensive rebounds in 33 minutes per game.

His consistently improving one-on-one defence and his apparently excellent post defence are great things to see if you’re a Raptors fan, but unless Bargnani can show a general understanding of help-defence without hurting himself and until he becomes at least an average defensive rebounding big man, he’ll never be able to shake the stigma of being a defensive liability, regardless of those impressive man-to-man stats.

Perhaps that’s the most frustrating part for fans who have lost patience with Bargnani over time. For years, people just assumed that he was defensively incapable and that he probably couldn’t do anything about it. What Moore’s excellent analysis tells us is that Andrea actually possesses the necessary fundamental skills to be a good defender in the most natural form (one-on-one), which only further convinces me of what I’ve always believed about Bargnani.

It’s not that he can’t do certain things on the floor because of a lack of specific basketball talents, it’s that he lacks the focus and/or commitment required to do some of those things consistently.

Desperate Raptors fans like myself secretly (hopelessly) hold some thin shred of hope that Dwane Casey is the man who can finally unlock everything that’s inside of the seven-foot Italian, and perhaps statistics like the ones Moore studied are the reason Casey seemed to have a confusing amount of faith in Bargnani heading into last season, but one has to wonder how long even Casey can wait.

I didn’t think it was possible, but the enigmatic Bargnani conundrum may have just gotten even more confusing. Thanks a lot, Matt Moore.

Here are the Moore articles:

http://gothicginobili.com/?p=3929

http://probasketballtalk.nbcsports.c...ensive-mirror/
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Old 08-23-2012, 07:08 PM   #2
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Default Re: Score Article: Bargnani's Impressive Defensive Numbers

I didn't read it yet but he was good before he got injured at Utah then when he came back seemed to be the old Bargnani
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Old 08-23-2012, 07:55 PM   #3
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Default Re: Score Article: Bargnani's Impressive Defensive Numbers

So he's a solid man to man defender, improving in the post and atrocious on help defense and the boards? What's new?
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Old 08-23-2012, 10:47 PM   #4
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Default Re: Score Article: Bargnani's Impressive Defensive Numbers

Quote:
Originally Posted by Qwyjibo
So he's a solid man to man defender, improving in the post and atrocious on help defense and the boards? What's new?

Well, nothing new about what most Raptor fan posters on ISH know.

Probably addressing more to the myth that Bargs is awful on defense all-around.
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Old 08-23-2012, 11:39 PM   #5
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Default Re: Score Article: Bargnani's Impressive Defensive Numbers

Quote:
Originally Posted by Legends66NBA7
Well, nothing new about what most Raptor fan posters on ISH know.

Probably addressing more to the myth that Bargs is awful on defense all-around.
That myth hasn't been around on this board for quite some time now. He's always been a passable and maybe even slightly above average man defender and a horrible weak side defender and rebounder.
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Old 08-24-2012, 12:39 AM   #6
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Default Re: Score Article: Bargnani's Impressive Defensive Numbers

Quote:
Originally Posted by bokes15
That myth hasn't been around on this board for quite some time now. He's always been a passable and maybe even slightly above average man defender and a horrible weak side defender and rebounder.
And that's always going to be unacceptable from a PF/C that will get 35 minutes per game. Being good at man to man and weak on help is fine if you're a perimeter player. Everything about Bargnani's game is backwards.
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Old 08-24-2012, 01:17 PM   #7
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Default Re: Score Article: Bargnani's Impressive Defensive Numbers

Quote:
Originally Posted by bokes15
That myth hasn't been around on this board for quite some time now. He's always been a passable and maybe even slightly above average man defender and a horrible weak side defender and rebounder.

Pretty much.

Improvements in his weak side D on its own would help his rebounding without any specific work put into that 'skill', I feel (better overall positioning and awareness will simply put him in better positions to grab rebounds), but I don't really see that improving at this juncture of his career (barring the use of a very large whip from Casey).
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Old 08-24-2012, 03:28 PM   #8
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Default Re: Score Article: Bargnani's Impressive Defensive Numbers

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Originally Posted by RaininThrees
Pretty much.

Improvements in his weak side D on its own would help his rebounding without any specific work put into that 'skill', I feel (better overall positioning and awareness will simply put him in better positions to grab rebounds), but I don't really see that improving at this juncture of his career (barring the use of a very large whip from Casey).
Agree 100% with both what you and Q have said. That good help D is crucial for your starting PF/C. That's not even to say that you have to be a great help defender. All he would have to do is to show some awareness, know how and when to rotate and be in position... and hell in todays day and age he wouldn't even have to learn how to block shots without fouling. Just get there in time and put his hands straight up in the air and even take the charge if need be. But his effort level is deplorable and his bball IQ leaves much to be desired. So I can't say i'm magically expecting this to happen in year 7.
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Old 08-24-2012, 07:26 PM   #9
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Default Re: Score Article: Bargnani's Impressive Defensive Numbers

If anything, I'm hoping he can become an efficient scorer where that part of his game can somewhat offset his crap overall defense. He's getting to the line more which helps but his 3pt % has taken a nosedive and he's still throwing up almost 4 attempts per game. I don't know what happened there.

As of right now, I wouldn't feel comfortable playing him 35 minutes per game and having the intention of being a good team. But we all know that doesn't matter much. "Mediocrity with the illusion of contention", the Colangelo motto.
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Old 08-25-2012, 12:08 AM   #10
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Default Re: Score Article: Bargnani's Impressive Defensive Numbers

Oh come off it. Bargnani is not a decent man defender, or a slightly above average one. He's a GREAT man defender. So he's not the greatest help defender, so what? Take a guy like DeAndre Jordan. He's a GREAT help defender and a terrible man defender. As a result, despite a tremendous amount of youth and athletic ability he can't stay on the floor for more than 25-30MPG tops. And consider the fact that he and Bargnani are making almost the same amount of money annually, i'd rather have a guy like Bargnani who is a great scorer, a good man defender and an average help defender and rebounder than a guy like DJ who is a great help defender, a good rebounder, a guy who contributes nothing on the offensive end other than dunks, and an awful man defender.
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Old 08-25-2012, 12:46 AM   #11
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Default Re: Score Article: Bargnani's Impressive Defensive Numbers

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Originally Posted by lilbeastnani
Oh come off it. Bargnani is not a decent man defender, or a slightly above average one. He's a GREAT man defender. So he's not the greatest help defender, so what? Take a guy like DeAndre Jordan. He's a GREAT help defender and a terrible man defender. As a result, despite a tremendous amount of youth and athletic ability he can't stay on the floor for more than 25-30MPG tops. And consider the fact that he and Bargnani are making almost the same amount of money annually, i'd rather have a guy like Bargnani who is a great scorer, a good man defender and an average help defender and rebounder than a guy like DJ who is a great help defender, a good rebounder, a guy who contributes nothing on the offensive end other than dunks, and an awful man defender.

He is a pretty good help defender and hes getting better at help side defense, but he is a terrible rebounder I wouldn't even call him average at rebounding. That said I would rather have Bargs than DeAndre Jordan for the reasons you stated.
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Old 08-25-2012, 02:25 AM   #12
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Default Re: Score Article: Bargnani's Impressive Defensive Numbers

Truthfully, I wouldn't want DeAndre Jordan at 10-11 mill/year either. BUT if you asked me who i'd take with the same money between Bargnani and Ibaka, give me Ibaka all day every day. Getting 5 boards in 35 minutes a game as a starting Center is nothing to overlook. I think he had the lowest rebounding average among starting Centers last year, and there's very few that would get that ridiculously low amount of boards in that many minutes. He has the size, he has the ability, he doesn't want to put in the effort. I will be so happy when he's not on our team anymore, seriously. Even moreso now because I remember that stretch of time a few seasons back where he was putting up monster numbers on the glass when he tried.

He had several outstanding rebounding games in the 2nd half of the 08-09 season. Same thing for parts of 09-10. And then the guy just flat-lined from there. He obviously doesn't care anymore, and that's why we haven't seen any improvement in those categories whatsoever since 2010.
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Old 08-25-2012, 08:19 AM   #13
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Default Re: Score Article: Bargnani's Impressive Defensive Numbers

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Originally Posted by bokes15
Truthfully, I wouldn't want DeAndre Jordan at 10-11 mill/year either. BUT if you asked me who i'd take with the same money between Bargnani and Ibaka, give me Ibaka all day every day.
that is hilarious and sad. Just so you know the thunder would give you I ibaka for Bargnani in a second- and they'd laugh at you the whole time.
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Old 08-25-2012, 10:30 AM   #14
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Default Re: Score Article: Bargnani's Impressive Defensive Numbers

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Originally Posted by el gringos
that is hilarious and sad. Just so you know the thunder would give you I ibaka for Bargnani in a second- and they'd laugh at you the whole time.
I would bet all the money I have against that. Not only because Ibaka is, IMO, a better player but he's also 4 years younger and a MUCH better fit on the Thunder roster (since they already have 3 great perimeter players).
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Old 08-25-2012, 02:11 PM   #15
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Default Re: Score Article: Bargnani's Impressive Defensive Numbers

Quote:
Originally Posted by el gringos
that is hilarious and sad. Just so you know the thunder would give you I ibaka for Bargnani in a second- and they'd laugh at you the whole time.
I highly doubt that. They didn't just give the guy a 12m/year longterm deal because they think he's a lesser player than Andrea Bargnani. They have a conventional roster there were the perimeter guys are the all-stars/superstars and the internal guys are rebounders, defenders and shot blockers. He's only 22 years old as Q alluded to, he's by far the leading shot blocker in the league in only 27MPG, best help defender in the league. He was 2nd in voting behind LBJ for 1st team all defensive because of how versatile and solid he is as a defender. And 2nd in DPOY voting (which I think was a croc) losing to Tyson Chandler because of his previous year in Dallas.

So yeah, I agree that they would laugh at me the whole time if I offered Bargnani for Ibaka, but for different reasons than you think.
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