I don’t know Andrea Bargnani personally. I don’t know what type of work ethic he has, or how committed he is to being a professional basketball player, or for that matter, anything else about his character.
What I do know is that Andrea Bargnani is not good at basketball.
Because of that, I really don’t like Andrea Bargnani the basketball player. So if it seems like I’m being too hard on him here, it’s because I am.
I’ve always wondered why an NBA team would employ a player like Bargnani. He makes just under $12 million per year, thanks to poor management in the Toronto Raptors organization four years ago. His game is “predicated” on his ability to sit on the perimeter and hit three-pointers. When the Knicks acquired Bargnani this summer, they felt so strongly about said ability that they threw in a first-round pick, when the Raptors were willing to give away a first-rounder to sweeten the deal for a potential Bargnani taker.
Unfortunately for the Knicks, Bargnani’s shooting just 28.2% from three-point range this season. Of all the players in the NBA this season who match Bargnani’s output — 2.6 three-point attempts per game over 40 games — the league’s worst three-point percentage belongs to none other than Andrea Bargnani.
When Bargnani’s not busy missing threes, he spends the rest of his time not rebounding. Among all 7-footers in NBA history, Andrea Bargnani has one of the lowest career rebounding percentages.
Throw in the the fact that when Bargnani is off the court this season, the Knicks NetRtg is a -0.2. The team only plays better with one other player off the court this season — rookie Tim Hardaway Jr.
It’s also been well-documented by Knicks beat writers that Knicks star Carmelo Anthony plays much better this season when Andrea Bargnani is on the bench, and how the low arc on Bargnani’s mid-range jumpers create fast-break opportunities galore for New York’s opponents.
We haven’t even gotten into Bargnani’s incredibly horrid defense. With limited space available, here is a nice summary of his defensive ineptitude.
I won’t say that Paul Pierce should have a career game on Monday, because the reality is we may not see this matchup for long. But the Nets — and Pierce — must exploit Bargnani’s weaknesses while he’s on the floor.
Expect Deron Williams to grill Bargnani in various pick-and-roll sets with Pierce. I also don’t expect the 6’7″ Pierce to have any issue guarding a 7-footer who makes it look like he and the paint are opposite ends of a magnet.
This matchup will be won by Brooklyn. In fact, it must be won by Brooklyn.