It isn’t often that former #1 overall picks in the NBA Draft get the label of “lost in the shuffle”, but that is exactly what happened to current Knicks and former Raptors forward Andrea Bargnani.
The Knicks brought him in during the off-season as he (finally) departed from Toronto, but it went largely unreported that he hasn’t played basketball in over 5 weeks. That seems impossible for a professional basketball player, but especially improbable for one who is trying to recover from a reputation-damaging few years in Toronto. However, there is new clarity to the situation.
Ian Begley of ESPNNewYork.com is reporting that Bargnani returned to the practice court on Tuesday, and that all reports were positive as he is overcoming pneumonia. Obviously, that wouldn’t be good for conditioning or body composition, but you can’t teach size (7-feet in Bargnani’s case) or skills (shooting stroke, passing, etc.) and he has both.
It will be exceedingly interesting to see what kind of role Bargnani will play in New York this season. For his career, the Italian big man has averaged over 15 points per game, but with that, his rebounding numbers (4.8 per game career, 3.7 per game in 2012-13) are atrocious for his size, and his shooting percentages (43.7% career) aren’t much better.
That said, Bargnani will finally have the focus off of him as he steps into a role next to Carmelo Anthony, Raymond Felton, and others, and hopefully, he’ll be healthy enough to fill it.