A couple days ago, we heard that Andrea Bargnani, former #1 overall pick and starting power forward for the Toronto Raptors, was “depressed” by his team’s struggles (they’re currently 5-19). Now, he’s getting his personal feelings out of the way and just calling it like he sees it. From Gazetta Dello Sport, via BlackSportsOnline, this is what Bargnani had to say:
“We pretty much the worst NBA team….we are all below expectations. Nobody is used to playing with anyone. We won 5 games, its a tragic thing; from whatever side you look at it its a desperate situation.”
“Pretty much the worst NBA team”? Some harsh words from Bargnani, no doubt about that. His team does have one of the worst records in the NBA (but hey, buck up Bargnani, at least you’re not on the 3-18 Wizards or 5-20 Cavaliers!), but his point about the team’s chemistry is a little puzzling. “Nobody is used to playing with anyone”? Really, even though Bargnani, starting SG DeMar Derozan and starting PG Jose Calderon have all played together in Toronto for the past four years? Could the additions of Michael Pietrus and Jonas Valanciunas to the starting lineup really throw that much of a wrench into the works?
This isn’t the 2012 Los Angeles Lakers or the 2010 Miami Heat, who had to make superstars like Kobe Bryant, Dwight Howard and Steve Nash, or Lebron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh try to gel together. You’ve got one journeyman free agent and one rookie being assimilated into the starting lineup. The root of the Raptors’ struggles lie elsewhere. Maybe its in the coaching, as Raptors’ head coach Dwane Casey is only in his fourth year of being an NBA head coach, and only his second in Toronto. Or maybe the Raptors struggles are rooted in the talent. After all, they do have a former #1 overall pick in the lineup, a former #1 overall player who in his six years in the league has never been discussed as an elite player… and that’s Bargnani. Not long ago, a column came out in the Toronto Sun, imploring Bargnani to “step up”.
Bargnani did get one thing right though: the Raptors’ current situation is indeed a tragic thing.