Jonathan Givony: First Pick Andrea Bargnani's to Lose

Givony talks to Andrea Bargnani's Italian agent, who denies rumors of some kind of deal (there have been whispers that Maurizio Gherardini, the GM at Benetton Treviso, might join the Raptors with Bargnani in a front-office position) for Bargnani to go to Toronto. Givony also starts a new trade rumor: Portland's #4 pick and Jarrett Jack for the #1 pick.

From the information that DraftExpress has gathered from sources close to the Raptors organization, the #1 spot in the draft indeed appears to be Andrea Bargnani’s to lose. Colangelo is infatuated with his phenomenal skill-set and is determined to lay the groundwork and make sure that this pick is not deemed a huge surprise like Charlie Villanueva was last year. The Raptors see Bargnani, like Charlie Villanueva, being able to play the 3, 4 and 5 spots in the NBA, with Chris Bosh manning the 4/5. The only question now is whether the Raptors will draft him at #1, or will attempt to trade down a few spots (possibly to Portland for the #4 pick in a package with Chris Bosh’s good friend and ex-teammate Jarrett Jack) to pick up a valuable asset along the way.

Here's my thought about this: Bryan Colangelo built the Phoenix Suns. He is the king of the new NBA and "small ball." It would be weird for a man like that to have a team with all of its major assets in the front court. Certainly, Bargnani could be part of a Dallas-style team, and I'm totally prepared to believe that part of the story is true. But this team has serious needs in the backcourt. Through draft, trade, or free agency, you have to believe the Raptors will be looking for some dynamic guards this summer.

UPDATE: Thanks to Chris Young, I just found a very interesting Dave Feschuk article theorizing that all the Bargnani talk in Toronto is a massive smokescreen.

As pre-draft strategies go, call this The Italian Job. And if you didn't see the movie of the same name — either the 1969 original or its decent sequel — you should know it starred a group of con artists planning the heist of their lives... To wit, Colangelo listed off his club's needs yesterday, and the needs — contrary to all the nice words about the Italian — spoke a different language. They need more "interior presence" and "rebounding help," the GM said, and Bargnani is a perimeter guy who averaged three rebounds a game during the regular season in Europe. They need a point guard. (And when haven't they?) And Bargnani, even if he is being billed as the latest in a long line of "next Dirk Nowitzkis," is certainly not that.