Opening Tip: Blame Bargnani?
April, 16, 2014
By Ian Begley | ESPNNewYork.com
Brad Penner/USA TODAY SportsAndrea Bargnani didn't have the impact the Knicks had hoped he would this season.The Knicks finish the season Wednesday against the Toronto Raptors, which is kind of fitting.
The Raptors might have ruined this Knicks season before it started.
After all, it was Toronto that sent over Andrea Bargnani in a lopsided trade in July. In exchange for Bargnani, the Knicks gave up a first-round pick, two second-rounders, Steve Novak and Marcus Camby.
All told, Bargnani has been one of the many reasons why the Knicks have struggled so mightily this season.
The Knicks were 15-27 when he was healthy; they went 21-18 after he suffered a season-ending elbow injury.
That, of course, is a bottom-line assessment.
It's unfair and simplistic to conclude that Bargnani and Bargnani alone was holding the Knicks back during their 15-27 start. There are five guys on the court, not one. But in comparison, the Knicks' performance with Bargnani on the court and their numbers with him on the bench are telling.
The Knicks scored 6.8 points more per 100 possessions when Bargnani was on the bench compared to when he was on the floor.
On defense, they allowed one fewer point per 100 possessions when Bargnani was on the floor compared to when he was on the bench.
Overall, the Knicks were 7.9 points better per 100 possessions with Bargnani on the bench than when he was on the floor.
Maybe Mike Woodson was being diplomatic on Tuesday when he said it was hard to judge Bargnani in full because of the rash of injuries the Knicks suffered throughout the season.
"It's hard to tell what kind of team we would have been had we had a full package and Bargnani would have been able to play with certain pieces," Woodson said. "For the time we had him, I thought he had some positive minutes for us. It wasn't like he wasn't noticed on the floor."
Bargnani averaged 13.3 points in 42 games, but he never seemed to benefit Carmelo Anthony in the way the Knicks had dreamed when they dealt for the former No. 1 overall pick.
The Knicks outscored teams by 3.5 points per 100 possessions when Anthony was on the court without Bargnani. But when Anthony and Bargnani shared the floor, the Knicks were outscored by 3.9 points per 100 possessions.
Up now: Anthony has a small labrum tear. He will not play in Wednesday's season finale.
The injury means he has possibly played his last game as a Knick. But J.R. Smith believes, in his "heart," that Anthony will re-sign.
What's next: The Knicks will finish the season against the Raptors on Wednesday.
Question: There were plenty of reasons the Knicks failed to meet expectations this season, but do you think the presence of Bargnani was the biggest factor?
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