Thursday, February 22, 2007

Raptors midterm report card - Vol 4 - Throw it down, big man!

Chris Bosh: A+
Nuff said.

Andrea Bargnani: B-
When drafted, Il Mago was touted as the player with the most potential in the 2006 draft. He would definitely be a project, but in time could be the next Dirk Nowitzki.

First of all, lets stop with the comparisons. "The next Michael Jordan." "The next Larry Bird." Are you on crack rock?

Alright, now that I have that out of my system ... Bargnani has had an amazing rookie campaign. He shoots the 3 with ease, he can put the ball on the floor and drive, he has excellent court vision -- it seems at times that offensively he can do no wrong. His biggest skill. however, has been his ability to learn and adapt. At the beginning of the year, Andrea was tentative offensively and lost defensively. He didn't get a lot of minutes, half because coach Mitchell didn't trust him, and half because he was in foul trouble. Then there was that infamous game in Golden State, where Chris Bosh ripped into Andrea during a time out. I don't read lips, but I can paraphrase: "Hey stupid, what the fuck is wrong with you?!"

Now, he understands where he needs to be, when he needs to help on D, and on a good night you'll even find him blocking a few shots. That on top of showing from time to time that he can score in the fourth quarter. Don't forget who put in the eventual game winner against Portland, against Portland, in OT.

Still, he doesn't shoot well from the field. Nor does he shoot well from 3 point range. He's soft around the bucket, especially defensively. He's far from a polished NBA player, but everyone seems to agree that we made the right choice with our #1 overall selection. And I no longer agree that he's a "project"

Rasho Nesterovic: B
The veteran big man from Slovenia (Hey Anth, ain't that where you from?) has a particularly interesting stat: Between his time with Minnesota and San Antonio, he has never been on a losing team. Granted, he was playing with KG and TD. But it bodes well that these great players had Rasho backing them up, which led to successful seasons, and this season he's backup up CB4.

But that's in the past, let's talk about the present. Rasho has been Rasho all season. He comes in, grabs rebounds, plays defense, and scores points. He gives you solid minutes. He can't dunk, but he "Lays it up with authority." And when the Raps make the playoffs, he has tasted NBA Championship glory, and can pass that experience on to the youts. Whoops, talking about the past again.

Rasho needs to work on his posterization skills. Maybe that's not how they roll in Slovenia, though.

Up next: the scrubs

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