Sunday, September 19, 2010

The Bargnani Ultimatum

Sometimes I like to people watch. You know, when there's nothing better to do but sit wherever you are and watch people go about their business. I know it sounds like something a stalker or pervert might do but this is different. The way people interact with what is going on around them can be fascinating at times. For the longest time I thought I was the only one who did this sort of thing, but my wife also enjoys the pastime of people watching. Stefon from SNL put it best when he said, "it's like that thing where a hobo becomes a rich man so they take a big bubble bath." I do recall one particular time when I saw one of the most expressionless men ever to walk the earth. There was something intriguing about him, like his boringness was so boring that I couldn't stop watching him because he was so normal that something strange just had to happen to him. Nothing happened but it was definitely something.

Recently I attempted to read the whole Jason Borne series and only made it to chapter 3 of the first book. But I read enough to find out that Jason Borne was exceedingly normal looking to avoid people noticing him (unlike the stunningly hansome Matt Damon). You might also say that his appearance was boring, like the man I watched. However, underneath it all Jason Borne was a very interesting individual and a very intriguing main character which made for a cool story.

The boring man is not unlike Andrea Bargnani. If you can look past the fact that Bargnani's 7 foot frame and his nasty, patchy beard make him quite noticeable (ugly even..) you might notice that he is quite boring. Bargs plays with no emotion and has even been said (by The Grey Nathan) to have emotion comparable to an animal. Just imagine a cow eating some grass and you've got your 2006 number 1 overall draft pick. So, Bargnani is like the
boring man because he has a boring exterior. Yet he may be like Borne because underneath the boring exterior there might be successful NBA career. So if you haven't guessed it already this preamble is building up to the topic of this article which is, The three do's and the three don'tsof the 2010/2011 Toronto Raptors Starring Andrea Bargnani.


1)Do Rebuild

This upcoming season has the raptors in a no brainer situation, they have to start rebuilding with their young players. In an absolute best case scenario, the raptors could make the 8th seed in the east and get swept by Miami in the first round of the playoffs. The only reason I say that it is possible for them to make the playoffs is because after the 6th best team in the east, everyone sucks pretty bad. So if your team's ceiling is a 1st round sweep, why not focus on growth and development and not worry about the wins. That way a lottery pick is on the way and you get a full year of growth for all of your young guys.
I really think Demar Derozan, Ed Davis and one more good young point guard prospect (hopefully a lottery pick next year) would be a great nucleus to build around. The verdict is still out on Derozan, critics are saying his ceiling will be anywhere from Andre Iguodala to Kobe Bryant. This season if he gets more shots than his 512 (6.6/game) last year then we should have a better idea of how good he really is. Which leads me to "Do" number two....

2) Do trust that Derozan will be Toronto's next superstar

Alot of people have a lot of reasons as to why Derozan will not be a franchise player. Well I'm here to tell you that he has just as much potential to become a franchise player as Kobe Bryant did after his rookie season. Just look at Bryant's rookie stats and compare it to Derozan's last year. The main differences were that Derozan shot a significantly better FG% while shooting a worse 3pt%. Other than that, they are pretty even. And judging from this video (my favorite part of the video is when the song says Me O'Clock), it looks like Derozan has really developed a hesitation turn around fade away jumper, similar to what Kobe has perfected. Demar has the work ethic (I heard he starts out every day by going to lift weights and then make 300 3's in the gym), the athletic ability and attitude to be a star in this league. Is he going to be the next Kobe Bryant? Probably not, but out of all the superstar shooting guards in the league Derozan reminds me the most of Kobe. I am willing to bet money however, that he will be better and try harder than Vince Carter. I think if a young athletic player has a high FG%, can rebound and can get to the line, they will have a high probability of becoming a star. Derozan is good in all of those categories, we just have to wait and see and I think this upcoming year will really tell alot about what kind of player he is.

3) Do trade away any expiring contracts and the TPE for Picks and/or young prospects

This goes along with Do number one, but I just wanted to point out that the raptors have reggie evans, markus banks and a huge TPE to play with this year. It would be unwise to say that Colangelo won't use them to his advantage. Let's just hope he doesn't use these trade baits to get someone like Brian Scalabrine, let him play limited minutes to just foul people and then sign him to 5 years 35 million.


1) Don't trade away Jose Calderon just because he is not a starter

This one is simple. If there are no offers that are lopsided in favour of the raptors in trading Calderon, don't do it. The Tyson Chandler and Boris Diaw deal was a great deal for the raptors, too bad it got jordaned. The thing with Calderon is that he is an excellet second unit point guard. He is the perfect type of player to come in off the bench and lead a second unit with minimal mistakes. I just don't understand why the raptors want to get rid of a guy because they prematurely overpaid him. Bite the bullet and use him in the best possible scenario where he can be successful.

2) Don't Start Backup players

Just like Calderon, I think that Linas Kleiza, Amir Johnson and maybe Leandro Barbosa will be in over their heads next year. They are all career backup players who are now expected to start and be successful next year. This only leaves fans and the players frustrated and let down. What the team should do is start Ed Davis, Derozan and Weems. This way the team's young core can grow together facing the best lineups the opposing teams have to offer. Why develop backup players who will just end up being backups again in a couple years?

3) Don't believe in Bargnani

I understand why Bargs was drafted number 1 overall, because he played like this. Now compare that video to a more modern Bargnani. Do you see it? When Bargs was younger he would actually jump when he shot, he would go after rebounds and was actually really mobile for a 7 footer. Quite frankly he looks like a young Dirk Nowitzky. For some reason, over the last four years Bargnani has changed his playing style from Nowitzky-like to Okur-like. Which is a digression to say the least. So is Bargs more like the boring man I watched, boring and nothing happens, or more like Jason Borne (boring looks but dynamic) character? . I could go on and on about how Bargnani should be traded as soon as possible but this article is pretty good at going into more detail on the matter. My point is that I don't think Bargnani really helps the raptors win. I would rather see a high-energy rebounder than a mr. stretch the floor and clang three pointers center. It's like in pick-up basketball when you play with big guys who stand outside the three point line bouncing the ball in between their legs for 20 minutes before they heave a long distance three pointer, never to use their obvious height advantage to grab any rebounds. I mean what are us short guys supposed to do? Go and get all the rebounds? Only Boarding Beavis has the ability to outrebound guys 12 inches taller than him.
Bargnani is the boring man I stared at, not Jason Borne. This is because we have watched the emotionless animal for four years now just waiting for something fantastic to happen and nothing has.. or will. I honestly think that the only way for the raps to move forward is to either trade bargs or give him a lesser role. If I were GM, I would give Bargs one more year. This upcoming year is a defining year for alot of these young raptors, so if they don't win I hope they're not boring to watch. Or I may have to start reading Borne Identity again.


  1. First of all, congrats on the longest post so far. Sweet column, good links, I liked it all. Never would have thought that DeRozan played like Kobe his first season, but the stats are definitely there. The only reason I would trade Calderon is if he won't/doesn't accept that fact that he is a backup PG. He needs to understand that. Otherwise, you're right, he makes a great backup. I think Barbosa could become a great starter. I could be wrong, but to me he's got what it takes. He never needed to start in the past.
    Couldn't agree more...Bargnani is definitely a/the boring man. If he had a little emotion, and a little drive, he actually could be awesome.
    LOVE the Boarding Beavis reference.

  2. Thanks T-Wah, I'm glad you liked it... on a different topic that is funny, I joined the co-ed basketball team that the pharmacy faculty set up and our team name is: Shooting For the Stars! HA HA!!

  3. Nice post Miller. I like how you seem to have an unrelated beginning that then transitions into your real article. Very smooth! I think your Dos and Don'ts for the Raptors are good, but I have a feeling that they will probably do the opposite by playing Johnson, Calderon, Kleiza and Barbossa a lot to justify their larger contracts and the summer moves, and by trying to build around Bargnani. He's not a bad player, but he can't be the centerpiece of your team for you to succeed. I'm also a bit suprised at how well DeRozan did. I never would have noticed that he had similar stats to Kobe, but I would also say that is a bit misleading. Remember that Kobe had a decent rookie season, but then fell off for a while until he magically put things together and became a great player. DeRozan has a long way to go to get to Kobe's level.

    As nice as it is to make the playoffs (mostly because the team gets more money) I think it would probably be best not to be the number 8 seed, as it gives you a chance at a lottery pick, which could really boost the team. The problem with the Raptors the past few years was that they were stuck at that bubble section. They were't good enough to get a decent playoff spot, but they also weren't crappy enough to have a chance at the number 1 (which if they ever do get it again, hopefully they won't screw it up this time!). I really agree that it needs to be a rebuilding year with a focus on the young guys. Hopefully BC will look in on our blog and take our advice!

    PS - your basketball team name is the gayest thing ever! I hope you make t-shirts together

  4. Tried to comment but i can't figure out how.

  5. You just did you not figure it out?