Where will Andrea Bargnani rank in the Eastern Conference next season, as a Center? … You Make The Call

It seems as though a certain segment within Raptorville is, once again, suffering from grotesque “delusions of grandeur”, regarding the actual ability and hoped for improvement of Andrea Bargnani [C, 7-0, 250, 2006 No. 1 Overall Selection] this off-season.

i.e. According to Doug Smith, in a segment on PrimeTime Sports [FAN590] yesterday, a legitimate case can be made that Bargnani might qualify as the 2nd Best Center in the Eastern Conference [EC] over the course of the 2009-2010 season.

The following list contains the names of the 15 Centers expected to play this position for their current teams, in the EC next season:

Zydrunas Ilgauskas, Cleveland Cavaliers [1]
Kendric Perkins, Boston Celtics [2]
Dwight Howard, Orlando Magic [3]
Al Horford, Atlanta Hawks [4]
Jermaine O’Neal, Miami Heat [5]
Samuel Dalembert, Philadelphia 76ers [6]
Joakim Noah, Chicago Bulls [7]
Rasheed Wallace, Detroit Pistons [8]
Jeff Foster, Indiana Pacers [9]
Emeka Okafor, Charlotte Bobcats [10]
Brook Lopez, New Jersey Nets [11]
Andrew Bogut, Milwaukee Bucks [12]
Andrea Bargnani, Toronto Raptors [13]
David Lee, New York Knicks [14]
Brendan Haywood, Washington [15]

————————————————————-

Where do you think Andrea Bargnani will rank next season as a Center in the Eastern Conference?

View Results

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Although yours truly usually finds very little to agree upon with host Bob McCown that is not the case in this instance.

According to these eyes, whoever happens to agree with Doug Smith, in this regard, is quite likely to be suffering from a form of Post-Concussion Syndrome … as there are, at least, 7 players who should be listed ahead of Il Mago on a depth chart of this sort looking forward just 1 season.

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29 Responses to “Where will Andrea Bargnani rank in the Eastern Conference next season, as a Center? … You Make The Call”

  1. Morning Coffee – June 5 - Raptors Republic Says:

    [...] Khandors Sports Blog It seems as though a certain segment within Raptorville is, once again, suffering from grotesque “delusions of grandeur”, regarding the actual ability and hoped for improvement of Andrea Bargnani [C, 7-0, 250, 2006 No. 1 Overall Selection] this off-season. [...]

  2. Don C Says:

    Sorry guys……Bargnani will build on what he did this season and be an all star next year

  3. khandor Says:

    Don C.,

    Welcome aboard!

    No need to apologise for a comment, and a perspective, like that around here.

    I think it’s the “hope” of every Raptors fans that Andrea Bargnani does improve in that way this coming season.

    However, when I show you a list of players that looks like this:

    ————————————————————————————-

    At present, there are a lot of talented “youngish” Centers in the NBA, including:

    Bargnani, Andrea [Toronto Raptors]
    Biedrins, Andre [Golden State Warriors]
    Bogut, Andrew [Milwaukee Bucks]
    Bosh, Chris [Toronto Raptors]
    Bynum, Andrew [LA Lakers]
    Chandler, Tyson [New Orleans Hornets]
    Gasol, Marc [Memphis Grizzlies]
    Haywood, Brendan [Washington Wizards]
    Hawes, Spencer [Scramento Kings]
    Hibbert, Roy [Indiana Pacers]
    Horford, Al [Atlanta Hawks]
    Howard, Dwight [Orlando Magic]
    Lee, David [New York Knicks]
    Lopez, Brook [New Jersey Nets]
    Nene [Denver Nuggets]
    Noah, Joakim [Chicago Bulls]
    Oden, Greg [Portland Trail Blazers]
    Okafor, Emeka [Charlotte Bobcats]
    Perkins, Kendrick [Boston Celtics]
    Speights, Mauresse [Philadelphia 76ers]
    Stoudemire, Amare [Phoenix Suns]

    with only 1 organization seeing fit to try and hold onto 2 of them.

    ————————————————————————————-

    it becomes apparent that your perspective might not be considered the most realistic or accurate one to hold in a discussion of this subject based on an unbiased assessment of all THREE main phases of the game, i.e. Rebounding, Defense & Offense.

    What exactly makes you think that Bargnani is going to be a better Center next season than the names in bold on this list?

  4. S'93 Says:

    We’re sure he’s a center?

  5. khandor Says:

    Center is the only position on the floor he can defend with a modicum of success.

  6. eyebleaf Says:

    Your negativity kills me, man.

    Noah is better than Bargnani? Really?

  7. MC Says:

    Which center, do you feel, would be the most compatible with CB’s game? Which PF in the L, do you feel, would be the best complement with AB’s game?
    Or does it go beyond the players in the starting 5 (I.E. Is the system more important)?
    Thanks

  8. khandor Says:

    eyebleaf,

    Yes, indeed … Joakim Noah, as a Center, is better than Andrea Bargnani, and it isn’t even a close debate.

    Basketball is a game with THREE distinct phases to to it … not just Offense.

  9. khandor Says:

    MC,

    Welcome aboard!

    1. Bosh is a Center, himself, so the proper question should be …

    Q1. Which PF is compatible with CB4?

    2. Bargnani is also a Center, so the same question applies for him …

    Q2. Which PF is compatible with Il Mago?

    ——————————

    A1. Someone like Jorge Garbajosa or Anderson Varejao or David Lee, etc.

    A2. Someone like Evin Hayes or Kevin McHale or Al Jefferson, etc.

    ===============

    The individual players and the system work together as the one should be an outgrowth of the other.

  10. Dave Says:

    I voted Bargnani in the 11-15 range.

  11. Linkage for Jun 4 7am to Jun 5 3pm - Raptors Republic Says:

    [...] khandor’s sports blog » Where will Andrea Bargnani rank in the Eastern Conference next s… It seems as though a certain segment within Raptorville is, once again, suffering from grotesque “delusions of grandeur”, regarding the actual ability and hoped for improvement of Andrea Bargnani [C, 7-0, 250, 2006 No. 1 Overall Selection] this off-season. [...]

  12. Raps Fan Says:

    I rank 11 guys ahead of bargnani:

    Zydrunas Ilgauskas, Cleveland Cavaliers [1]
    Kendric Perkins, Boston Celtics [2]
    Dwight Howard, Orlando Magic [3]
    Al Horford, Atlanta Hawks [4]
    Samuel Dalembert, Philadelphia 76ers [6]
    Joakim Noah, Chicago Bulls [7]
    Rasheed Wallace, Detroit Pistons [8]
    Emeka Okafor, Charlotte Bobcats [10]
    Brook Lopez, New Jersey Nets [11]
    Andrew Bogut, Milwaukee Bucks [12]
    David Lee, New York Knicks [14]

    From the list in the post, not the one in the comments.

    I think Bargnani will be better next season, except for rebounding. Dave had a great article a few weeks back about how bad he really is. I have a hard time believe his rebounding will be significantly better, if at all.

  13. khandor Says:

    Raps Fan & Dave,

    It boggles the mind to think that Doug Smith actually said …

    There could be a “legit” case made for Bargnani to be considered the 2nd Best Center in the EC next season.

    The 2nd Best … meaning behind ONLY Dwight Howard … as if the other good players at this position in the conference don’t exist at all.

    Puft! … like, magic, they just somehow disappear.

  14. Gus Says:

    Given…his rebounding numbers are atrocious. Although, he often boxes out, w/o chasing the ball. He needs to be more of a ball hawk.

    However, I would look at several things when evaluating Bargnani.

    1) His individual and help defence is fantastic. I would say it is in the top 3.
    2) His offensive skills are formidable and they continue to improve. He lacks a traditional drop step but his passing and his drive from the wing along the baseline is devastating, and would be moreso if it was cranked into the offensive sets. Not to mention his shooting from the outside which pulls the big rebounders outside. He is a tough cover and a big mismatch.
    3) His development arc. More than any other player on that list, he has grown into a troublesome player to defend and be defended by. I look at that arc and, if it continues, see a player that can do damage on a nightly basis.

  15. khandor Says:

    Gus,

    Welcome aboard! :-)

    re: 1) His individual and help defence is fantastic. I would say it is in the top 3.

    I disagree with this assessment of Bargnani’s individual and help defensive skills. His skills are far from fantastic when compared with a lot more than just 3 players on my list.

    Biedrins, Andre [Golden State Warriors]
    Bogut, Andrew [Milwaukee Bucks]
    Bosh, Chris [Toronto Raptors]
    Bynum, Andrew [LA Lakers]
    Chandler, Tyson [New Orleans Hornets]
    Gasol, Marc [Memphis Grizzlies]
    Haywood, Brendan [Washington Wizards]
    Hibbert, Roy [Indiana Pacers]
    Horford, Al [Atlanta Hawks]
    Howard, Dwight [Orlando Magic]
    Lee, David [New York Knicks]
    Lopez, Brook [New Jersey Nets]
    Nene [Denver Nuggets]
    Noah, Joakim [Chicago Bulls]
    Oden, Greg [Portland Trail Blazers]
    Okafor, Emeka [Charlotte Bobcats]
    Perkins, Kendrick [Boston Celtics]

    re: 2) His offensive skills are formidable and they continue to improve. He lacks a traditional drop step but his passing and his drive from the wing along the baseline is devastating, and would be moreso if it was cranked into the offensive sets. Not to mention his shooting from the outside which pulls the big rebounders outside. He is a tough cover and a big mismatch.

    At best, Offense is just One of Three main phases in the game … and it is far from the most important one for a dominant Center in the NBA.

    Bill Russell
    Wilt Chamberlain
    Hakeem Olajuwon
    Tim Duncan
    Shaquille O’Neal
    George Mikan
    Bill Walton
    David Robinson
    Willis Reed
    Patrick Ewing

    re: 3) His development arc. More than any other player on that list, he has grown into a troublesome player to defend and be defended by. I look at that arc and, if it continues, see a player that can do damage on a nightly basis.

    Once again, you are speaking primarily from an Offensive perspective, as his development arc from a defensive [individual and team] and rebounding standpoint is behind several of the other players on my list.

    Biedrins, Andre [Golden State Warriors]
    Bogut, Andrew [Milwaukee Bucks]
    Bosh, Chris [Toronto Raptors]
    Bynum, Andrew [LA Lakers]
    Chandler, Tyson [New Orleans Hornets]
    Gasol, Marc [Memphis Grizzlies]
    Haywood, Brendan [Washington Wizards]
    Hibbert, Roy [Indiana Pacers]
    Horford, Al [Atlanta Hawks]
    Howard, Dwight [Orlando Magic]
    Lee, David [New York Knicks]
    Lopez, Brook [New Jersey Nets]
    Nene [Denver Nuggets]
    Noah, Joakim [Chicago Bulls]
    Oden, Greg [Portland Trail Blazers]
    Okafor, Emeka [Charlotte Bobcats]
    Perkins, Kendrick [Boston Celtics]

    ——————————————————–

    IMO, those who think Bargnani is going to be a dominant Center in the NBA are focusing primarily on the Offensive aspect of the game and not looking at the two most important aspects of the Defense & Rebounding … in which he is still well behind several other youngish players.

    ———-

    PS. And, if by chance you are the same “Gus” from Michael Grange’s blog, then it’s a sincere Double Welcome Aboard! Intelligent commentators like you are always welcome here. :-) Whether or not we agree with one another is irrelevant, from my perspective.

  16. The AltRaps Blog » Blog Archive » Toronto Raptors Linkage for June 5th through June 9th Says:

    [...] khandor’s sports blog » Where will Andrea Bargnani rank in the Eastern Conference next s… – It seems as though a certain segment within Raptorville is, once again, suffering from grotesque “delusions of grandeur”, regarding the actual ability and hoped for improvement of Andrea Bargnani [C, 7-0, 250, 2006 No. 1 Overall Selection] this off-season. [...]

  17. Gus Says:

    Sorry…I am not from Grange’s site, but I do read him frequently. I also read you and can often understand the points you are trying to make. I coach 12 yr old basketball squads, and my emphasis is mostly from a defensive point of view. I myself am a back to the basket, help “center”.

    I was comparing him just to Eastern Conference Centers, and I have been concentrating quite closely on his movements away from the ball. Speaking from a defensive point of view, I think his awareness has grown, and his on-ball defence has become more aggressive. He holds his spot and is changing more shots. When the ball swings, he is moving through the paint to help.

    He is superior to many Eastern Conference players on your list there, including Chris Bosh, in that regard. I can say that decisively as I have watched it closely. Bosh often will leave him hanging and not the other way around.

    Last point, check and see how many rebounds Bargnani’s man pulls down…not many. He’s doing his job on the defensive boards.

    Thanks

  18. khandor Says:

    Gus,

    I always enjoy exchanging/sharing ideas with coaches!

    ———–
    re: I think his awareness has grown, and his on-ball defence has become more aggressive. He holds his spot and is changing more shots. When the ball swings, he is moving through the paint to help.
    ———–

    I agree. Bargnani has, in fact, improved in these areas of the game. That said, he is still relatively weak in them, IMO.

    ———–
    re: He is superior to many Eastern Conference players on your list there, including Chris Bosh, in that regard. I can say that decisively as I have watched it closely. Bosh often will leave him hanging and not the other way around.
    ———–

    I do not share this opinion with you.

    When Bosh plays as the team’s Center and Bargnani is off the court, altogether, CB4 does not perform poorly, from a Team Defense persepctive.

    ———–
    re: Last point, check and see how many rebounds Bargnani’s man pulls down…not many. He’s doing his job on the defensive boards.
    ———–

    1. I am not someone who places a great value of emphasis on stats. I prefer to watch the game possession by possession, evaluating like a coach does, not just a fan. :-)

    2. If Bargnani develops like Laimbeer … who fulfilled this job for the Pistons beside Rodman, Sally, Dumars, Thomas, Edwards, etc. … then, his team can win consistently in the NBA Playoffs; but, it isn’t going to happen with players like Calderon & Bosh at his side.

    If you’re going to keep Calderon & Bosh, it makes basketball sense to cash in your chips on Bargnani, in return for a different set of assets.

  19. Gus Says:

    This particular debate may never get resolved…however – -

    1. After Bargnani’s third yr…there is still a significant development arc…and he is still only 23 yrs old. Defense seems to develop more slowly for centers…but point taken, his defensive awareness, within the whole game, has not developed as quickly as when he has the ball in his hands.

    2. With this Bosh thing, we may just have to disagree for now, and I will watch with a fresh eye next season. Too many times I have watched Bosh not come across to help AFTER Bargnani has slid over to help…(usually after Calderon or Parker got beat)…

    Bargnani stats – agreed. Completely. I’m just saying that he is doing a good job of boxing out and his man is sealed. He just needs to become more aggresive w/ the ball.

    Bargnani role development – I don’t think that is the way he meant to develop as a player. He will eventually be a second or third option on a very good team. Always a threat to score and stretching defenses.
    For the record – the 7 footer that streaks down the lane,receives the pass, and is a legit threat for a 3 pointer, and then can pump fake and take 3 steps for a dunk is an awesome tool.
    He’s going to become very dangerous for someone that knows how to utilize him.

    Chips cashed – agreed. The three units mentioned cannot and will not win anything in this league. Cash ‘em in while they are worth something so that you can build a structure on defense and movement. These guys can’t do it together.

  20. Hubert Farnsworth Says:

    Coaches use stats. Heavily. And, since we’re evaluating players, how many GMs ignore stats? Actually watching the game is very important. Completely disregarding stats isn’t smart at all.

    So, where does he place? Top 3 easy.

    Scoring matters, position regardless. Bargnani can shoot and score from anywhere. He’s also a good defender.

    Horford can’t score. Perkins can’t score. Noah can’t score. If there was an inverse MIP award, Rasheed would win. Lee is undersized and can’t play D. Lopez is probably going to be amazing.

    Bargnani can improve his rebounding, as he’s already proven. Bargnani can improve his defense, and he’s already proven. Bargnani can improve his blocking, as he’s already proven. Bargani is going to prove you wrong.

  21. Nammer Grazi Says:

    Modicum is spelled like that. Iota also works.

    When are delusions of grandeur anything other than grotesque? It’s also a ridiculously overblown assessment.

    “According to these eyes, whoever happens to agree with Doug Smith, in this regard, is quite likely to be suffering from a form of Post-Concussion Syndrome”

    Isn’t that just a wordy variation on “if you don’t agree with me, you’re stupid”?

    This blog is pretentious! Verbosity can be wonderful, but coherence is key!

  22. khandor Says:

    Gus,

    1. Bargnani turns 24 in October. He has already played 3 full seasons in the NBA. He was a full-fledged “pro” player in the Euroleague prior to that, working and training against grown men everyday. Contrary to what many NBA observers and Raptors fans might think Bargnani was far from being a fresh-faced kid coming straight out of a US high school or after a 1-yr stint in the NCAA.

    Defense does not develop more slowly for dominant Centers in the NBA. In fact, if anything, it’s the opposite with truly great players at this position.

    2. It’s no problem agreeing to disagree.

    I agree. Developing as a dominant Center in the NBA was not what Bargnani envisioned for himself prior to starting his career in this league.

    For the record … IMO, Bargnani does NOT streak down the court. :-)

    For the record … IMO, Bargnani’s shot fake and dribble-drive to his right is a solid “move” but one which will not stand him in good stead for the remainder of his career, as a Center, given his physical limitations. Right now, it catches opponents off-guard because of his size. As the games go by, however, this move will not be there for him with no pull-up jumper going to his right off the bounce, as a counter. Bargnani is not a fluid player with exceptional agility for a man his size and is at his best [quickest and most explosive] when he is moving in a straight line. He is an expensive version of Bill Laimbeer, with slightly more mobility. He is not Dirk Nowitzki.

    Athletically, Bargnani is a stiff, upright player without the agility and deft footwork of the other great players who have played the Center position in the NBA.

    Despite this fact … for the record … IMO, Bargnani is going to become a dangerous offensive player for the right coach who knows how to use his good but “limited” offensive repertoire because he can shoot the ball from distance and is a pretty good passer.

  23. khandor Says:

    Hubert,

    Welcome aboard!

    High level coaches certainly do use stats … just not the ones that most fans are aware of … and they break down them down possession by possession.

    Coaches give players actual grades for their performance on each possession in a game for every single thing that happens on the floor … not just FGA, 3FGA, FTA, Rebounds, Assists, Turnovers, Blocked Shots, Personal Fouls, Points Scored and Plus/Minus.

    Coaches go into WAY MORE detail than THAT concerning such things as deflections, rotations, proper helps, charges, pass allows, dribble allows, shot contests, post-up contests, proper defensive angles & associated responsibilities, traps, recovers, fights, switches, loose ball recovers, transitions, box-outs, etc. … and that’s just on the defensive side of the floor.

    Scoring is the least important phase of the game at the Center position.

    Horford, Noah and Perkins … who you say “can’t score” … will all be a major part of a championship NBA team BEFORE Andrea Bargnani, IMO.

    Defense & Rebounding at the Center position are simply crucial to a team’s success in the post-season.

    I agree that Bargnani has improved his defense, rebounding and shot-blocking … AND can still improve a great deal more in these areas of the game. That’s really not the point, however.

    The point is …

    Q1. How good is he right now at these things?

    Q2. What’s his ceiling going to be in these three aspects of the game?

    … relative to the other top players in the league at the Center position.

    My answers are …

    A1. Not very good.

    A2. Lower than many people think, given his age and actual level of experience as a basketball player.

  24. khandor Says:

    Nammer Grazi,

    Welcome aboard!

    Thanks for catching the typo on “modicom”.

    Delusions of grandeur need not be grotesque, at all. Sometimes they are and sometimes they are not.

    Each is entitled to his/her own opinion … regardless how wrong it might be.

    Pretentiousness is in the eye of the beholder. Whether YOU ARE someone who is pretentious, or not, I will leave for you to decide.

    Coherence is important to be sure. Those who think in straight lines see coherence in just a few places. Those who think without borders see coherence everywhere. Into which category do you fit?

  25. Gus Says:

    Ok…I won’t push this much farther. This may just come down to the simple fact that we are seeing this thru different filters. When I lok at Bargnani I see the glass half full. To me, he seems like a fluid, dynamic player, young, who has improved every yr in every area of the game.
    Will he be a Hall of Famer, probably not. Could he be a game changer? Possibly. It’s an unknown, bc he is so young and his development arc has been rising dramatically.
    If Jay now takes him aside and says that he needs him to attack the rim, from all areas of the floor, who knows what might happen. Right now, Bosh gets most of the offense run through him, but thhat might not always be the case.
    Last point, if he came even close to being a Laimbeer w/ more flexibility, then I would be ecstatic. Aside from Magic, Laimbeer is my favorite player to ever don a uniform.

  26. khandor Says:

    Gus,

    IMO, it’s not really a case of seeing “half-empty” vs “half-full”.

    It’s a case of we two not seeing and evaluating an elite level player in the exact same way.

    For example:

    In your eyes“he seems like a fluid, dynamic player, young, who has improved every yr in every area of the game.”

    In my eyesAthletically, Bargnani is a stiff, upright player without the agility and deft footwork of the other great players who have played the Center position in the NBA … despite the improvement he’s shown to this point in his NBA career, in terms of defense & rebounding.

    Nothing would make me happier than to have Andrea prove me wrong, in this regard, over the next several years … whether it’s with the Raptors or another organization, as I like him very much, both, as a player and a person. If the right coach and organization has a chance to work with him he does indeed have the chance to become a special player in the league, if he’s used the right way and surrounded by the type of elite level players HE needs to function at his best at the CENTER position. In my opinion, however, those players happen not to include Chris Bosh and Jose Calderon.

    While not being one of my all-time favourite players … the amount of R.E.S.P.E.C.T. I have for someone like Bill Laimbeer is immense. If Bargnani can develop in a similar way to ‘King Thug‘ his team will have a very valuable player on its hands … if the right pieces to the puzzle are placed around him. The fact is … the very first person to make the comparison between Bargnani and Laimbeer, in the on-line basketball community, was none other than me. As opposed to someone like Dirk Nowitzki, Bill Laimbeer is a much more accurate assessment of who Bargnani actually is as a highly serviceable NBA player. Bill was a stiff, relatively unathletic Center, with terrific range on his tippy-toe jumper who could hold his own on the boards, defensively in the Low Post and was a thorough Menace to Society for those who ventured into the Pistons’ Paint, without remorse.

    Unfortunately, I just don’t see the signs of things developing in this way for him, in the NBA … and, my personal history says that I am seldom wrong in this regard.

    In general, those who think that I “hate” Bargnani are completely clueless. [not that I'm putting you in that category ... as divergent, intelligent thinking like yours is always welcome here :-) ]

    ———-

    PS. I would even go so far as to suggest that, if Bargnani would’ve had the opportunity to work with someone similar to me, on an everyday basis, he would’ve end up being a perennial all-star in the NBA and look very different than he looks today with his current skill set. Unfortunately for him, however, individuals like me, don’t happen to grow on trees in the NBA. ;)

  27. John Says:

    You’re an idiot, which is why no one can take yo seriously. Noah is better than Bargnani? What exactly are you basing this on? Thank God you’re not our GM, what a shit team we would have if that was the case.

  28. John Says:

    going through your list, Bargnani is better then anyone you bolded with the exception of Howard and possibly Lee, but that will change by next season.

  29. khandor Says:

    John,

    1. Welcome aboard! :-)

    2. You and I do not share the same opinion about where Andrea Bargnani rates as a starting Center in the EC.

    In my book, I would choose to have each of:

    Al Horford
    Brook Lopez
    Dwight Howard
    Joakim Noah
    Kendrick Perkins
    Rasheed Wallace
    David Lee

    play for my team at that position ahead of Mr. Bargnani.

    [Please Note: This does not mean that I do NOT like Bargnani as a player or a person ... only that I happen to think each of these other players is someone who is better as a Starting Center in the NBA.]

    3. Trust that there are plenty of people in this world who take seriously what I have to say. ;)

    Have yourself a terrific day!

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