It’s been an interesting and shocking week for the Toronto Raptors. General manager Brian Colangelo pulled off the deal of the season bringing in the next franchise savior Rudy Gay from the Memphis Grizzlies. Jose Calderon and Ed Davis where shipped out and coach Dwane Casey finally has his closer. The Raptors are 1-18 when trailing by five points with less than three minutes left. If they could have just closed out half of those games a playoff spot would be theirs.
Is Colangelo done? What else can he do to bring in more talent or players that fit the Casey system? The Boston Celtics lost both Rajon Rondo and Jared Sullinger this past week. Andrew Bynum isn’t returning anytime soon for the Philadelphia 76ers. Another spot in the playoffs is up for grabs. The fans and the media are clamoring for more as they see this the year to halt their playoff exodus. But is there another team in the NBA that wants anyone else on the Raptors roster? There is the forgotten enigma that is Andrea Bargnani.
Bargnani has been out for weeks, maybe months, well not long enough for the Raptors faithful. The team has played better on both sides of the ball and the wins have come easier. Bargnani is the chip that can be moved for a valuable asset. With the loss of Calderon many believe the team needs another point guard. I don’t because John Lucas III fits that spot perfectly: John Lucas III Fully Capable Of Filling Back Up Role For Toronto Raptors. The team doesn’t need another wing because the roster is full of two and threes with Alan Anderson, Demar Derozen, Linus Kleiza, Landry Fields, Mickael Pietrus and Terrence Ross. There is no need for a center. The league has gone to small ball and in Casey’s system a big man isn’t needed to do anything else other than rebound and set picks. Amir Johnson, Aaron Gray, Quincy Acy and Jonus Valunciunus are all unselfish hard workers that do their jobs without complaining.
The only piece of the puzzle that is missing is more scoring on the second unit. That need for a three point specialist who can extend the defense, get his shot up quickly, with a keen eye for buckets who isn’t shy to shoot from anywhere is what every bench mob is built around. That piece is Bargnani. So why does Colangelo need to trade him? If and when Bargnani returns, coach Casey needs to sit him down and fill him in on his new role. He is perfectly suited to be the first man of the bench. We all have wondered where Bargnani fits. Well we just found his role.
If the Raptors are going to make the playoffs and even make a run deep they need a second unit than can outscore the other team’s bench. With Bargnani the Raptors have that chance.
Let’s be honest: who wants him anyways. There were rumors that the Los Angeles Lakers and coach Mike D’Antoni were willing to part ways with Pau Gasol. Dwight Howard’s injury concerns and the fact that the Raptors don’t have any real cap space have brought those rumors to a halt. Why would Gasol want to come to Toronto now that his best buddy Calderon is gone? Gasol and Gay didn’t make it work in Memphis so Bargnani isn’t going to Southern California. The Denver Nuggets seem like a fit with there up and down, shoot from anywhere with no conscience attitude. Who would the Nuggets give up and who would the Raptors want?
So for now anyways Bargnani needs to stay but only if he gets his head around being a bench player. He can always be moved in the summer. Imagine Bargnani hoisting the sixth man of the year award. Wouldn’t that be something.
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