It would have been nice to see the New York Knicks land a blockbuster free agent in the offseason. Though there will be no New York version of the “Big Three” anytime soon, the biggest roster addition is far and away Andrea Bargnani. He is every bit the shooter Steve Novak was, but the former No. 1 overall pick also has the ability to put the ball on the deck and take it to the rack. His mid-range jump shot is formidable as well. A big knock on Bargnani from a skill set perspective is his failure to rebound the basketball, which is doubly confusing a deficiency when you consider his 7-foot, 256 pound frame. He’s an above average athlete to boot.
All this tells me that Andrea has the tools to rebound but refuses to do so. His highest season average is 6.5 rebounds per game during their 2009-10 campaign. He also averaged around a block a game for two seasons but hasn’t eclipsed that mark in four years. Andrea has shown the ability to be a 20 point scorer when allowed to fire at will but averaged 12 per game during a 2012 season in which he only played 35 games due to injury. In fact, Andrea has only played a combined 132 games since the 2010-11 season.
Though no one has mentioned it, Bargnani might be an even bigger injury liability than Amar’e Stoudemire next season. Be that as it may, the possible upswing in offensive versatility and productivity is intriguing given his ability to play all three front court positions. What if Bargnani starts at power forward alongside Carmelo Anthony and Tyson Chandler? What if he comes off the bench with J.R. Smith to form a high scoring duo to support the second unit? As the “what ifs” continue to pile up the NBA regular season approaches and decisions need to be made. But, with any luck, Bargnani will be just consistent enough to keep teams from doubling Carmelo Anthony and J.R. Smith night in and night out. That in itself would make Andrea’s arrival in New York worth it.