First it was San Antonio Spurs’ Tony Parker making eye-raising remarks about the Spurs while in his home country of France and now it is Toronto Raptor’s Andrea Bargnani also making remarks about the Raptors while in his home country of Italy.
While being a guest color commentator for the Italian feed of a Western Conference Finals game, Bargnani was asked in a feature interview if he could play anywhere in the NBA, where would he want to play.
Here is what he told Italy’s Sky Sports:
“I want to stay in Toronto, at least this is the politically correct answer. If (I am) to go somewhere else, I’d like a warm climate city and a team where I can actually play in my role.”
Bargnani spoke those sentiments in Italian; the translation was provided by a trusted source, fluent in both Italian and English, and confirmed as accurate by the journalist who conducted the interview, Alessandro Mamoli.
Wait! It gets better.
Here is what Bargnani had to say about Raptor’s GM Brian Colangelo when asked about Colangelo questioning his defensive play, desire and rebounding skills at Toronto’s season-ending press conference.
“(Colangelo) had some unfortunate and not very courageous comments about me … The facts are there for everybody to see and judge.”
However, Colangelo did respond to Bargnani’s remarks:
“The way the Italian media portrayed my comments, I think, was completely out of context … That’s what I call unfortunate,” Colangelo said Tuesday. “I didn’t say anything derogatory. I said in order for Andrea to get to the next level, he needs to focus on certain things and he needs to improve in certain areas.”
Interesting. Is Bargnani trying to send a message to the Raptors about his dissatisfaction? And what’s this about him not playing his role?
Bargnani is Toronto’s main threat on the court. He is a shooting big man who can extend the opposing team’s defense. He took 17.8 field-goal attempts a game this past season, and averaged 21.4 points per game. Furthermore, check out the number of shot attempts he has taken since the 2008-2009 season – 958 in 2008-2009; 1,143 in 2009-2010; and 1,173 in 2010-2011. Moreover, Toronto can’t move him to the power forward spot seeing how he isn’t known for being a tough player and allows other bigger, stronger power forwards to have their way.
Also, he needs to remain healthy for Toronto. Since entering the NBA, Bargnani has yet to play a full 82-game season. The closest to a full season played was in 2009-2010, when he played 80 games.
As for Colangelo’s remarks on Bargnani’s defense and rebounding skills, he is spot on. For a 7’0″ NBA big man, he averages career marks of 4.9 rebounds per game. Not only do the numbers show it, even Bargnani knows it:
“I have to keep getting better at other aspects starting from the three-point line, defense and rebounding,” said Bargnani. “Everybody can see the numbers. Offensively the numbers are there, I have to get better at rebounding.”
Perhaps Bargnani simply didn’t think before he spoke, but he cannot distance himself from Toronto with these remarks seeing how this will only add fuel to Raptors fans who have been disappointed with Bargnani since he joined the team.
Perhaps Bargnani was just being the Italian star he is and giving the Italian media what they want to hear.
You can appreciate his candor with the media and you can appreciate he does recognize his short-comings on the court but since Chris Bosh left for Miami, he filled the role any player would covet – franchise player. And as a franchise player, he needs to think before he speaks.
(sources: projectspurs.com, nba.com, thestar.com, realgm.com)