2012 Final Raptor Report Card (Part 1)

Posted on May 2, 2012 | 14 Comments

With the season mercifully over for the Raptors, it’s a good time to take stock and give the Raptors their final report card. This time, I’m including a grade for the franchise as a whole, which you’ll understand when you read it at the end. This part takes us from Alabi to DeRozan, and includes Colangelo and Casey.

Bryan Colangelo: Approaching Expectations

Colangelo did a lot of things right, including not trying to rush the rebuild along, signing Aaron Gray, trading Leandro Barbosa and finding Alan Anderson and even Ben Uzoh. Even Jamaal Magloire was a good pickup, not for what he did on the court, but for what he brought to the lockerroom.

On the other hand, he waited too long to “tank” the season, which means that the Raptors have very little chance of getting a top pick, which they so desperately need. Injuries to both Andrea Bargnani and Jose Calderon prevented him moving them at the trade deadline, but I think there could have been things I should have tried.

He gets a lot of flack from fans, some deserving, some not, but he did a pretty decent job this season.

Needs To Work On: His desire to field a competitive team, no matter what the circumstances. He’s not the type of guy that like to take it slow, which is what the team needs.

Scott Carefoot, of Raptorblog recently went on a rant where he said that Colangelo needs to, at least, make the playoffs next year in order to keep his job. I disagree. I’d rather see the Raptors miss the playoffs, but solidify their future, than speed up the rebuilding process for the sole purpose of being competitive. That’s how mediocre teams are built, by GMs scared for their job who know that making the playoffs will allow them to keep it a little while longer.

When Colangelo took over the Raptors, he went out and made some moves to make the team competitive, but one that ultimately had a low ceiling. Making the playoffs is easy (relatively). Actually building a contender is the hard thing. Colangelo has to control himself on the free agent market this summer, and not sign a bunch of veterans that will make the team competitive, but, like the 2006 team, not built to contend.

Recommendation: Keep (for now). A lot hinges on what he does this summer. He needs to hit a home run in order to prevent the team from hopping back onto the mediocrity treadmill. They need a franchise player to become a contender and it’s up to Colangelo to get one.

If the Raptors don’t get the top pick, I’d like to see Colangelo gamble than play it safe.

Dwane Casey : Exceeds Expectations

I don’t think anyone could foresee the improvement Casey would have on the team’s defense, especially considering he was stuck with mostly the same roster that was the worst in the league on defense last year. This year they are in the top half. For that, I think he should at least be in the conversation for Coach of the Year, despite the poor record for the team.

He wasn’t perfect, though. The Raptors offense was pretty bad for most of the season, and not totally due to the absence of Bargnani. A lot is due to Casey simply not focusing much on that end, which is understandable.

I have bigger criticisms of him, though. The main one being the lack of playing time that both Ed Davis and Solomon Alabi received. Davis certainly struggled with consistency, and a lot of that is his own fault, but even when Davis played well, he didn’t get the playing time. What made this all the more egregious is that Casey doled out the playing time to Bargnani even when he was playing poorly and without passion. There was one game (I can’t remember which one) when Bargnani played horribly on defense and got yanked after five minutes. Great, except that he still came back to play 39 minutes that game.

And while Alabi might still be a project, waiting until the last few games to give him minutes makes it very difficult to gauge his progress.

Even with these criticisms, coaching, for the first time in a long, long time, seems to be the least of the Raptors worries, at this point.

Needs To Work On: Developing his younger players. He’s a guy who likes to win, which is good, but that means he likes playing veterans over young players. On this team, the young players need to be developed more.

Recommendation: Definitely keep. I’d even give him an extension.

Solomon Alabi: Incomplete

Alabi played at least ten minutes a game only three times this year, of the 14 times he did play. On the plus side, in two of those games, he grabbed double digit rebounds, including 19 in the last game against the Nets, which was not surprising considered he played well in the D-League, and that game had more in common with a D-League game than an NBA game.

In two seasons in the league, he’s played fewer games (26) than in two of his three seasons at Florida State (sophomore- 35, junior- 32). That’s not a good sign.

Needs To Work On: Playing.

Reommendation: Trade or cut loose. After two seasons, the Raptors still don’t know what they have with Alabi, but it doesn’t appear he’s going to be the player they were hoping for, otherwise he would have appeared in more games. With Jonas Valanciunas on the roster next season, and a frontcourt getting more crowded, there is simply no space for him. You don’t really want him as your backup or even third center, with Valanciunas on the team, and I don’t think the Raptors have the luxury of having four centers.

Alan Anderson: Exceeds Expectations

For a guy who was out of the league for so long, Anderson impressed. He showed an ability to hit the three (39% even after a slump at the end of the season), score and defend. He showed a poise and veteran savvy, which is not surprising considering he’s 29 years old in some of the best leagues around the world.

He’s not a game changer, or even a guy you’d want starting, on a good team, but I think he’s definitely showed he’s got a place in the league.

On the downside, though, he shoots worse from inside the arc than outside, shooting below 40%, although a lot of that has to do with his last four games, when he went 18 for 59 and was expected to be a scorer, rather than a role player, with Bargnani, Calderon, Bayless and DeRozan out.

He’s also not a very good rebounder.

Needs To Work On: At 29 years old, there’s not really much he would be able do to make any big improvements and has pretty good skills for a role player, anyway.

Recommendation: It doesn’t matter. I’d have no problem at all if he was on the roster next season, but he’s simply not good enough and not young enough to make much of a difference to the team now or in the future.

Andrea BargnaniNeeds Improvement

Yes, for the first 13 games of the season, Bargnani played like he never has before. His defense was much improved and offensively he was among the better scorers in the league. A lot of people went a little overboard, though, in their praise for Bargnani. While his defense improved, he was still a weak link on that end of the court and his rebounding his still horrible.

He rebounded slightly better than last season but it was middle of the pack for his career, in terms of rebounding percentage and rebounds per minute. And his rebounding wasn’t any better during his 13 game heyday.

And for all the talk about his improved play this year, he averaged fewer points per game than last season, shot the third worst percentage of his career, from the floor, and second worst from three.

And the excuse that he took a while to recover from injury simply doesn’t hold water. No one should take a month to get their conditioning and rhythm back when their playing 30+ minutes a game. Not when they’ve only missed a month.

One of the biggest concerns, though, is that this is the second year in a row that Bargnani has failed to remain healthy. The fact that he only lasted 13 games playing at the level of intensity he did makes you wonder whether his body will put up with it. After not exactly being the hardest working player on the court for so many years, it’s possible that his body simply can’t take the kind of punishment that that level of play will give it.

It certainly wasn’t all bad for Bargnani, though. Bargnani got to the line at a career high rate- a FTA/FGA ratio of .357, which is a vast improvement and into the realm of the great scorers. Such an improvement is incredibly rare and gives one a lot of optimism about his future as a scorer.

He also finally showed the ability to pass the ball that his fans have been saying he’s had for years. He still tends to hold the ball longer than he should, and he’s not nearly the consistent passer he should be, but he’s not the black hole he used to be.

Needs To Work On: As usual, defense and rebounding, neither of which you can really work on. After 6 years in the league, it’s pretty obvious he’s never going to be even an average rebounder or defender.

Recommendation: Trade. When the next regular season starts, Bargnani will be 27 years old and 7 years older than Jonas Valanciunas. In 6 years in the league, he’s basically played 13 games at an acceptable level (and even that’s arguable). It has to have become obvious to even his firmest backers that he will never become the player many hoped when he was drafted.

The reason he should be traded, though, is simply because he’s a is a big man who’s a poor rebounder and below average defender, and it’s incredibly difficult to win with that, no matter what he does on the offensive end. He’ll be making $10, $11 and $12 million over the next three years and now there should be legitimate concerns about whether he can stay healthy.

Still, he should have plenty of trade value because he’s a 7 footer with near elite scoring ability. I can see a lot of teams thinking they can cover up his poor rebounding and defense.

The danger of keeping him is that his salary keeps getting higher and his trade value will most likely only decline.

Jerryd Bayless: Approaching Expectations

Bayless’ is a curious case. When he’s started the last two seasons, he’s put up decent numbers (17.8 ppg, on 45% shooting and 43% from three, and 5.3 apg this season and 18.1 ppg on 47% shooting and 6.7 apg last season). He’s everything Calderon is not. He’s aggressive on offense and defense, can create his own shot and get into the lane, and has the physical tools to be a good defender.

Unfortunately, being everything Calderon is not is not all good. He’s not a pure point guard and often ignores his teammates on offense and often makes poor decisions, especially in close games when he tends to have blinders on. Interestingly, he shoots worse early in the clock than in the last ten seconds.

His confidence is his biggest asset and biggest weakness. He believes he an do anything he wants on the court, but he can’t. He still hasn’t learned when to shoot and when not to shoot.

The majority of his assists seem to come on drive and kicks, when he doesn’t have a shot. Derrick Rose can get away with doing that, but not Jerryd Bayless. And Rose knows how to run an offense, Bayless doesn’t.

The other problem with Bayless is that he has constantly struggled with injuries. It may be due to his style of play (somewhat reckless), but it’s definitely something one needs to take into consideration. He missed over half the games this season, which means that this was almost a lost year for him.

Needs To Work On: Running an offense and his decision making. He’s got the potential to be a very good player, but unless he is able to improve on his passing, he’ll never be anything more than a combo guard off the bench.

Recommendation: It’s really too bad he missed so much time because it’s hard to make a decision on him. He never really had much of a chance to develop this season, so unless the Raptors draft or trade for a better young point guard, I’d like to see him return to see whether he’ll develop into a starter.

That said, he hasn’t shown himself to be indispensable and if the right deal came along, he might have some value.

Jose Calderon: Meets Expectations

I’ve been a long time supporter of Calderon. I’ve never felt he’s been given his fair due by the majority of Raptor fans. He’s a pass-first point guard in a league more and more bereft of them. He’s one of only a handful of players in the league who understand how to run an offense and he has consistently had one of the best assist to turnover ratios in the league. Believe it or not, that’s not an empty stat. Fans, at one time or another, have pined for far less efficient PGs like Devin Harris, Rodney Stuckey and Darren Collison, guys who are flashier, shoot more, but don’t actually make their teammates better like Calderon. Efficiency on offense is a staple of most NBA Champions. Unfortunately, though, so is defense, and that’s one of Calderon’s biggest weaknesses.

While Calderon improved on defense, he’s still below average, on that end of the floor. So why do I give more of a pass to Calderon’s poor defense and Bargnani’s? Because you can get away with a poor defensive PG far more than a poor defensive big man. More than a few below average defensive PGs have rings, but poor defensive big men with rings are like good Adam Sandler movies. Yes, one or two exist, but that’s more a fluke than anything.

Another problem with Calderon is that he’s only had one season where he played every game. I don’t think he’s as injury prone as some seem to think, and he actually stayed healthy this season, unless you count having his eye bashed in twice in a week a sign of being injury prone.

Needs To Work On: At 30 years old, you pretty much know what you’re going to get with Jose, and I’m fine with it. He was healthy this season and his defense improved, but he’s not going to ever be a great defender simply because he doesn’t have the physical skills.

Recommendation: Keep, if possible. Calderon is a team first guy who is a good type of veteran to have on the team. He’s one of the few Raptors that actually makes a positive impact on the court, is a great pick and roll player which would benefit Jonas Valanciunas next season.

I don’t see him being the long term answer to the PG situation for the Raptors (he’ll be 31 by the time next season starts) but he’s a good guy to have running your offense until someone better comes along.

Of course, if the right deal comes along that would help the team, you have to take it.

Ed DavisNeeds Improvement

A lot was expected of Davis this season. He didn’t blow anyone away last season, but he showed enough to think he had the makings of a very good NBA player and a potential cornerstone of the team. With an actual training camp this season (he was injured to start the season last year), most felt that Davis was ready to make a big jump in his development. Fast forward to the end of the season, and Davis had career lows in just about every category and was a major disappointment to the team. Like others on the team, he finished the season much better, giving hope for the future, but to see not only stagnation, but such regression in Davis’ development is incredibly worrisome. It could have been the lockout, which prevented him from working with the team in the offseason, but it’s not as if he was on his own. His father is a former NBA player, so you’d think he would have done more in the offseason.

It’s not uncommon for players to have a sophomore slump that ends up simply being a bump in the road (Bargnani had a much worse sophomore season than Davis did) so there is no reason to write him off, just yet.

Needs To Work On: GETTING STRONGER, as well as his offense. Davis has the makings of a very good defensive player, but until every PF in the league stops being able to push him around, that won’t happen. In fact, added strength will help him in just about every aspect. He’ll be able to score more inside and grab more rebounds (I can’t tell you how many times I saw stronger players grab a rebound out of Davis’ hands).

Recommendation: Keep, unless the Raptors draft another power forward. As I said, it’s way too early to give up on him and he still has the makings of a first rate power forward. This summer is EXTREMELY important for Davis’ development. He needs to make a big improvement next season, which is going to judge whether or not he’s ever going to live up to his potential.

Now if the Raptors draft another power forward (Like Anthony Davis??), then I’d see what kind of trade value he has and try and ship him out. I don’t think he’s the type of player who would be happy in a reserve role for too long and needs minutes to be productive consistently.

If he’s not starting by the middle of next season, then he should probably be moved.

DeMar DeRozanNeeds Improvement

A lot was expected of DeRozan this season, who averaged 20 ppg over the last two months of last season. He looked to be poised for, if not stardom, then at least success.

Like Bargnani, he started off the season well, even going 10-16 from three, which was amazing considering he only hit 5 threes last season and had the worst percentage (9.6%) of any player who took more than 50 threes.

Unfortunately it didn’t last. He shot 37% from the field for the entire month of January and struggled in pretty much all aspects of his game. And he never hit the boards very well, especially for a guy with his size and athletic ability. He did end the season well, at least from a scoring standpoint, so there is optimism there.

Now, there has been a lot of discussion about his defense, and despite the criticism, he did improve a fair bit this season. But while his defense improved, it was still below average and most were expecting more of him, especially in his third year. He has the physical tools to be a standout defender, but after three seasons, it’s becoming apparent that he never will be.

Needs To Work On: Getting stronger, defense, ball handling, jumper, rebounding, in that order. One of DeRozan’s biggest problems this season was that he simply wasn’t strong enough to compete inside, either on offense or defense. I think that’s why he struggled so much, at the beginning, and why he is such an inconsistent scorer. Too many times he drove only to either have the ball knocked away or had his shot blocked. In fact, DeRozan had 14% of his close shots blocked and 15% of his dunk attempts blocked. So nearly one out of every six shot attempts in the paint were blocked. That’s not a good percentage, especially for a 6’7 player with his athleticism.

Getting stronger will also help his defense, and possibly his rebounding.

Lastly, I really think playing in those Pro-Am and summer leagues hurt DeRozan’s development and gave him a false sense of where his game is. The things he needs to work on are not going to be improved by playing in games where they play little defense and he can dominate.

Recommendation: On the fence. He’s an incredibly hard worker and desperately wants to be great. That’s a huge plus for any player. And he’s only 22, so he’s still got a lot of room (and time) for improvement. Plus, he’s got the physical skills.

On the other hand, the only real skill he currently has is scoring, and he’s never shown the consistency to be a really good one.

Therein lies the big problem with DeRozan. What is his future role? He hasn’t shown the scoring consistency to make you believe he can be a 1st or 2nd option on a contender, but he doesn’t have any role playing skills to be anything BUT a scorer. My fear is that he’ll always be that player who spends most of his career as a scorer on bad teams, because that’s all he can do. In a lot of ways, he’s similar to his good buddy and former Raptor, Sonny Weems. Weems has the tools to be a good player, but his insistence on focusing on scoring might keep him out of the league. He’s simply not good enough to be a #1, 2 or 3 option on a good team, but he’s never developed the other skills that would make him a good role player.

I don’t want to rush to any conclusions on DeRozan, since he is so young and such a hard worker, but if an offer comes that helps the team, I wouldn’t think twice about trading him. But I wouldn’t mind seeing how he starts next season before I’d be ready to ship him out for the sake of shipping him out.

Part two I’ll discuss Amir to Jonas (yes, I will talk about his year) and give the franchise, as a whole, a grade. I’m hoping to have that for Friday, but more likely it will be next week.

And I’ve also got a post coming entitled, “The Championship Exception” that will discuss winning a Championship without a franchise player, and then an open letter to Bryan Colangelo that you’re not going to want to miss. And my early draft preview is still coming.

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Join the discussion: 14 Comments

Comments

  • Andrea

    Bargnani deve andare via solo per un motivo, cioè per non leggere più queste stronzate che scrivete, o popolo di bovari. Lo stesso Coach Casey ha detto che dopo l’infortunio non poteva avere l’elasticità necessaria per esprimersi al meglio soprattutto in difesa. Infortunio gravissimo, ed era una ricaduta ma non lo ricordate testoni che non siete altro, e non ricordate, tra i due infortuni, dei 36 e 26 punti che hanno fatto vincere due gare in b2b con Utah e Phoenix. Ma siccome manco sapete leggere ogni parola che proferite, o meglio scrivete, è ulteriore conferma della vostra ignoranza. Vattene Mago, trova una squadra con gente vera e non una manica di buffoni che non sa cosa sia il Basket e scrive vaccate da mane a sera.

  • http://www.wearingfilm.com/picketfence/ Tim W.

    Google translation:

    Bargnani needs to go away for one reason, ie not to read this crap you write, or people of cattlemen. The same Coach Casey said that after the accident could not have the necessary flexibility to best express themselves especially in defense. Serious injury, and had a relapse but do not remember that you are nothing grand, and do not remember, between the two accidents, and 26 of the 36 points that they did win two races in b2b with Utah and Phoenix. But since not even know to read every word uttered, or rather write, is further proof of your ignorance. Go Wizard, is a team with real people and not a bunch of buffoons who do not know what the Basket and writes vaccate from morning to evening.

  • DevilRStar

    Terrible translation but we get the gist of it. My question is: why do people who like/support Bargnani bother to read this blog?

  • http://www.wearingfilm.com/picketfence/ Tim W.

    What’s even more puzzling is why some people seem to take personal offense to criticism of a player. None of my criticism of Bargnani has extended beyond what he does on the basketball court, and the vast majority of it has been based on fact, not personal opinion, and I’ve been proven right on most of the rest of it. Yet there have been more than a few people who try to attack me personally. I don’t understand how these people can function in the real world when someone who they’ve never met politely criticizes someone else who they’ve never met, and they take it personally.

    Andrea,

    What exactly do you expect Casey to do? Throw Bargnani under the bus? That’s obviously not his style. Casey, at least publicly, always supports his players, even if he doesn’t privately. That’s his style.

    I find trying to have a discussion about Bargnani with an Italian fan is like trying to have an environmental discussion with someone who works for the oil industry. It’s in their best interests to ignore the facts.

  • Rich

    “I can see a lot of teams thinking they can cover up his poor rebounding and defense”

    But can they? Just a question, but do you think it’s ever possible for a team to be able to cover up poor defense and rebounding from a particular player? Or is it just a lost cause?

  • http://www.wearingfilm.com/picketfence/ Tim W.

    @Rich

    Anything’s possible. Detroit won a Championship with James Edwards, who was just as bad a rebounder and nearly as bad a defender, Of course they did that by surrounding him with Dennis Rodman, one of the best rebounders and defenders in the history of the game and Bill Laimbeer, a four time All-Star who was possibly one of the dirtiest players in the league, as well as Joe Dumars, on of the best perimeter defenders in the history of the league. Detroit also was already a great defensive team and had won one Championship, by the time Edwards became a starter, so they were able to adjust to him.

    So, ya, it’s definitely possible. But it’s a huge uphill battle. And you have to wonder, is it worth it? It’s not as if Bargnani has proven to be a game changer. He’s an excellent scorer, but we’re not talking about him being a Kevin Durant, or even Dirk Nowitzki. And he’s such a high maintenance player that you always have to worry about whether he’s being motivated and whether he’s getting enough minutes and touches (when he doesn’t he doesn’t play well).

  • Tinman

    Actually agree with your assessment of all but am puzzled – seems you created Bayless a whole new category. What is the difference between “approaching expectations” and “needs improvement”.
    And then a very good debate could be said to include Bargnani in that same category, approaching expectations.
    A good debater would say that there were improvments across the board in his game this year, and stretches of quality play. Injuries are a part of the game, as an observer of the game, his second time back from injury he regressed. Due to injury? Who knows?

    Your blog. I get it. And I like your writings, this year aside in all honesty.
    But tell me you don’t have a bias against him. Bayless approached expectations yet Bargnani didn’t.
    Shit – ask Coach Casey that question.

  • Tinman

    And I hope you don’t group me in the “attack you personally” category.

    People can disagree without attacking you personally. Is that not why you publish?

  • http://www.wearingfilm.com/picketfence/ Tim W.

    The categories are taken from my kids’ report cards (from kindergarten to grade 3). They are Needs Improvement, Approaching Expectations, Meets Expectations, Exceeds Expectations. Sometimes I throw in a new category is someone/something is really bad.

    As for Bargnani, I actually went back and forth on him. It would be hard to argue against him in the Approaching Expectations, just as you could argue Bayless being in the Needs Improvement category. What put him over the top in that category, for me, was that his scoring went down, but even worse, his field goal and three point percentage were pretty bad, for the season. 43% and 29% are just plain bad for a 7 footer who takes as many shots as he does. And while he improved his defense, I still don’t consider it at an acceptable level. And his rebounding is still awful. Too many people focus on the 13 games, rather than the season as a whole for him. As for Casey, has he said a bad word publicly about any Raptor this season? Casey is a positive reinforcement guy.

    I really don’t think any bias was responsible for what grade I gave Bargnani, since I gave DeRozan the same one.

    Bayless was borderline for me, and I could be persuaded to move him down.

    And as long as you attack the argument, and not the writer, then it’s not personal.

    [Edit]

    The main reason I had Bayless as Approaching Expectations is his age and experience. Bargnani will be 27 by the time next season starts and has played 6 seasons with a lot of minutes, whereas Bayless will be 24 by the time next season starts and has only played 3 seasons with consistent minutes. If Bayless were a couple of years older, I would have put him in Needs Improvement. I also would have probably recommended he be traded.

  • theswirsky

    Tinman – ever think that you have your own bias towards him?

    “A good debater would say that there were improvments across the board in his game this year”

    except they weren’t. From last year his eFG% was down,his block % was down, his turnover % was up

    When you look at all his numbers as a whole, what you see is little change in Bargnani. Everyone gets lost in those 13 games, but forgets he played 18 after that. People want to excuse the end of the season due to ‘injury’ (even though he himself said he was fine), but lets not forget there are 300+ other games we can compare it to.

    I remember reading some of what Tim wrote last offseason and he mentioned that it wouldn’t suprise him to see Bargnani start off hot and then get cold as the season went on. The people arguing with him said ‘give it 20-30 games’. Well he had that, yet Bargnani supporters always feel the need to focus on 13 games and dismiss everything else. (And those 13 games were not as good as people want to remember they were… lots of scoring yes, marginal improvement in rebounding although still bad, and hedging on screens does not make a player. Although they were good for Bargnani)

    Tim – I’m not sure how BC gets an approaching expectations mark. I get that not doing anything is better than signing a vet free agent and trying to make the playoffs, but he set his own expectations at rebuilding, and he hasn’t even started to yet. The core of this team is the same. To me what he’s done is an incomplete with some gold stars at the top of the report card for Casey.

    I do agree that alot hinges on this offseason, but unless the Raps win the draft (which I’m not sure BC can get credit for that) I don’t see any possible way to bring a franchise player in. He’s already set the goal for the playoffs next year, so I fully expect to see him go after veteran players (Casey said as much during the season last year). It would not at all suprise me to see Colangelo trade down or out of the draft.

  • http://www.wearingfilm.com/picketfence/ Tim W.

    I think Tinman brings up a fair question, but ultimately I think Bargnani gets the grade he should. He did show improvement in his game, but not consistently, which has always been his problem. I’m glad you remember my prediction that Bargnani would start the season off hot and then cool off, although I don’t think that was a difficult prediction to make.

    One thing about Bargnani hedging, is that he tends to overcommit, leaving space for the ball handler to split the defense and go through, something I saw more and more of as the season went on.

    As for Colangelo, I think his real season starts now, but I think he did a decent job this season, by not trying to force things. Of course, his job was mostly to do nothing, so that wasn’t difficult. We’ll see what kind of offseason grade he gets in October.

  • Tinman

    Please note I didn’t disagree with Bargnani’s grade.
    And let me just say I am not quite the fan of Bargnani that I once was but have always felt that too much blame was placed on him for all our shortcomings.
    The guy is not a centre, never should of been placed there to begin. That’s not his fault.

  • Tinman

    “In 6 years in the league, he’s basically played 13 games at an acceptable level (and even that’s arguable)”

    Come on.

  • http://www.wearingfilm.com/picketfence/ Tim W.

    I have to disagree with Bargnani not being a center. I’ve never understood that argument. He’s physically big and strong enough to play the position, he defends centers better than PFs and centers have a more difficult time defending him than power forwards do. His biggest problem is that he’s a poor team defender, but that doesn’t make him a PF.

    As for Bargnani only playing 13 games at an acceptable level, it’s an exaggeration, yes, but the fact is that I don’t consider his play for most of his career acceptable. A big man who can’t defend or rebound hurts his team way too much. I wouldn’t want that on a contender because it would be a killer, especially in the playoffs. That’s not acceptable.

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