So after paying to read all those ESPN Insider reports on how bad the Nets season will be, you're looking for some relief, some analysis that is not so down. Well, we found one, a HoopsHabit report that uses statistics to suggest that Andrea Bargnani could have a "bounceback" year!
Wait ... Andrea Bargnani?!
Yes indeed. Michael Dunlap argues that despite his two terrible seasons across the East River and a disappointing career as a No. 1 overall pick, Il Mago (aka "the Wizard") can do one thing very, very well and that is shoot.
Would it surprise you to know that Bargnani can still shoot the ball very effectively? Check out this chart that shows a variety of forwards and how they fared last season from the mid-range:
3-to-10 10-to-16 16-to-3P
Bargnani 0.441 0.452 0.445
Durant 0.412 0.535 0.400
Nowitzki 0.365 0.478 0.475
Aldridge 0.448 0.392 0.415
Love 0.366 0.408 0.468
The thing, Dunlap writes, is getting him open.
It’s true — put Bargnani in the right spot and he’ll knock down some jumpers. Digging a little bit deeper (via stats.nba.com) shows us Bargnani can make open jumpers. When he was wide open last season (defined as the closest defender being 6-feet or further), he shot 46.3 percent. When we limit shots to being from 10 feet or further, he shot 46.2 percent, including 39.1 percent from the 3-point line.
Dunlap also talks about Bargnani's defense, but since this is a family-oriented website and we don't permit depraved or indecent discussions, we leave to your imagination.
Bottom line for Dunlap and Bargnani's coach is this: expectations for the Italian seven-footer were too high in the past. Not so now.
Now that Bargnani is on a veteran’s minimum contract and in a role where very little is expected, I encourage everyone to look at him in a different way. He’s not the next Dirk Nowtizki. He’s not revolutionizing the game. He’s not the future of the NBA center. He’s simply a serviceable backup big man who needs to play on a team that can provide him with open looks at the basket.
Whether Hollins can pull the strings to make that happen remains to be seen.