At this point in his career with the Toronto Raptors, fans shouldn’t be the least bit concerned with whatever is on Andrea Bargnani’s mind.
Recently it was a reported that Bargnani spoke to Italian media and described the Raptors as the worst team in the NBA. Not long after the report came out, the good ole’ “taken out of context” excuse was quickly provided to those wondering what on earth Bargnani had said.
Bargnani spoke to the Toronto media to clarify his comments stating he was asked by the Italian reporter if he was satisfied with his team’s performance. Bargnani replied by saying how could he be satisfied with the Raptors having one of the worst records in the league.
With that, most likely some English reporter put the quote through Google translator and out popped keywords like “worst”, “record” and “league” and suddenly Bargnani was made to look like he said something he hadn’t said. Why? It’s simple, if you quote what he actually said then there’s no story and it certainly doesn’t blow up throughout the Canadian media, making Bargnani look like a villain when not many people in Toronto are his biggest fans at the moment.
Bargnani was also quoted saying the team is playing below expectations and that the players aren’t used to playing with each other. For anybody that has watched the Raptors this season it has been painfully obvious the team is playing below expectations and the team has little chemistry amongst its core players.
A large reason the team lacks chemistry has been due to Bargnani’s continuous need to launch unbalanced three-pointers with 23 seconds remaining on the shot clock. His performance to start the year is unquestionably the worst he’s looked in his NBA career. He was never a great or even good defender but this season he looks borderline pathetic some nights.
Bargnani has either entered the season dramatically out of shape or has all but given up trying to work hard consistently on the defensive end. He’s brought it some nights showing flashes of the player fans saw a year ago, but on most occasions he just appears lazy and uninterested.
No greater display of his lack of interest could be seen then when he went 2 for 19 from the field. He shot the Raptors out of an upset victory the team should have earned over the San Antonio Spurs and when he finally did score he couldn’t have appeared like he cared any less.
There was a moment with two minutes remaining in regulation with Toronto down two where Bargnani was fouled shooting the ball and his wild attempt at a jump shot banked in off the backboard giving him a chance at a three-point play. Rookie Jonas Valanciunas let out a roar of emotion, squeezing the ball as he yelled in excitement for his teammate finally scoring some points and having a chance to take the lead in the game. Meanwhile Bargnani’s face was blank, emotionless and he didn’t even acknowledge the excitement his teammate had shown. He stepped up to the line, missed the free throw attempt and continued down the court as if nothing mattered.
This is why Raptors fans shouldn’t even acknowledge whatever comments he wants to make to any Canadian, American, Italian or Martian media. If a player is not mentally invested enough to show emotion in what would have been by far the biggest win for Toronto this season, then fans need to pay attention to those that are. Not those that give half-hearted effort on most nights while players around them with half of Bargnani’s natural talent consistenly outwork the seven-footer showing tremendous heart night in and night out.
Valanciunas was mentally invested in that game, Jose Calderon, Kyle Lowry, Ed Davis, Amir Johnson and DeMar DeRozan all were as well. The only player that wasn’t is the player that is right on the money with his assessment of the team.
After all, Bargnani knows a thing or two about playing below expectations.