The Andrea Bargnani signing is a Brooklyn Nets fan Rorschach test. It’s either a no-risk, veteran’s minimum deal for a former top overall pick that once averaged 20 points per game (great!), or a terrible defender and poor shooter who might take playing time away from the team’s younger, higher-potential players and torpedo the team’s interior defense in the process. You see the ink on the contract and you either see the eternal hope or eternal cynicism that defines you as both a sports fan and a human being.
I don’t know if the person who made the video above was hopeful about Bargnani’s potential, deeply cynical about his porous defense without the proper tools to show it, or just bored. But YouTube user Piotr Zarychta took the time to cut together 25 of Bargnani’s 27 NBA blocks[note]This is my favorite part. Why stop at 25? Why not show all 27? Are two of the blocks “phantom” blocks that shouldn’t have counted? Is someone goosing the stat sheet at MSG? WE NEED ANSWERS.[/note] with the New York Knicks last season.
This isn’t Blake Griffin dunks or Derrick Rose ankle-breakers, and that’s exactly why we needed it, says a writer for the website that once cut a two-and-a-half-minute Keith Bogans highlight video exclusively of him hitting threes and people. A quick perusal of Zarychta’s video upload history shows a few videos like this: there are the requisite Stephen Curry threes and game highlights, but also the occasional Timofey Mozgov reel. We need those, because if they are not captured, they will be forgotten, a fate worse than basketball purgatory.
Some of these blocks are kind of decent! Most of them come with Bargnani defending a post-up, which has generally been his best spot defensively. He’s got some good timing on his non-jumps, including a tap-away of a Greg Monroe drive, and he even sends a Brook Lopez shot on a stifled arc towards the rim. A few of them come with him out of position and luckily avoiding a foul call, and others are just bad shots.
Like Rorschach, you’ll see whatever you want to see in this video: enough to get by for a few minutes per game, or enough to laugh at and mock. But, damnit, they are there, and they are to be watched. This is what sports is all about.