When the New York Knicks made the move to acquire Andrea Bargnani from the Toronto Raptors, I can assure you, I was one of the guys laughing it off as one of the worst possible moves the Knicks could have made. His contract puts that team in cap hell, he’s been a complete bust of a number one overall pick and the guy simply just can’t play defense.
Well, allow me to cut myself a slice of humble pie.
Since center Tyson Chandler has been out of the lineup, Bargnani has flourished. The Italian has scored 20-plus points in two of three games and is actually rebounding the basketball — I know, it’s a near miracle. For a big man averaging under five rebounds for his career, this seven-footer has been very good as of late.
Bargnani has averaged 20.3 points and 6.6 rebounds through his last three games. The guy has been good for two three-pointers each night during that span and even blocked an astounding five shots in a contest with the Charlotte Bobcats. To say he’s been good would be an understatement.
Bargnani may be one of the core guys to keep this team in the thick of it during Chandler’s absence. On the season, he’s averaged 48 percent from the field and 4.0 rebounds in 25 minutes per game. Those two numbers are key to this team’s success. Without Chandler, Bargnani has to get himself a couple more rebounds each game for the Knicks to assure wins.
He’s been phenomenal shooting the ball, and if he can get that three ball going even more so than it is right now — 37 percent — this Knicks team will be all the more lethal. We know he has it in him to make those shots, thus the fact that he’s taking them. Well, needless to say he has got to keep taking them.
I’m not going to pretend Bargnani is the answer to all of the Knicks’ problems, but I will say this: It was hard to imagine how this team would survive without Chandler, but Bargnani has been doing nearly everything right in trying to answer the call.