When the New York Knicks made the move to acquire former No. 1 overall pick Andrea Bargnani, I could have been counted among those that were very skeptical of the decision.
The theory on paper made sense as Bargnani should be a guy that could stretch the floor, making things a bit easier for the likes of Carmelo Anthony to get to the basket.
However stretching the floor with success on paper is one thing. Doing it on the floor when it matters is something entirely different altogether.
While Bargnani has the ability to be a top-notch scorer on this Knicks team, I was cautious of which player the Knicks were acquiring.
Bargnani is a guy who saw his field goal percentage dip in each of the past three seasons, after shooting a career-high 47 percent from the floor during the 2009-10 campaign. He bottomed out last season when he failed to make 40 percent of his attempts.
Even more concerning to me was the fact that he would be filling a role on this team as a long-range shooter, something Bargnani has not done well the past couple of seasons, knocking down only 29.6 percent of his three-point attempts in 2011-12 and only 30.9 percent last season.
Now many Knicks fans will lead you to believe that Bargnani will be great in blue-and-orange because “he doesn’t have to be the main option.”
That’s another theory I don’t buy.
For Bargnani to be successful in this Knicks’ offense, it all comes down to him making shots. You can say he will stretch the floor all you want, but until he shows he is capable of doing so; teams will still clamp down on Anthony and allow Bargnani to throw up as many bricks as he wants.
That’s something he has done a lot of this preseason.
Bargnani had another rough night Monday against the Toronto raptors, going only 4-for-12 from the floor. Even worse was the fact that he can’t hit an outside shot, going just 2-for-7 when shooting beyond 15 feet.
That’s been a huge problem this preseason as Bargnani has made just 9-of-25 shot attempts outside of 15 feet. If you are scoring at home, that’s only a 36 percent clip.
I tend to not to draw much conclusion from preseason numbers as most of the time they are meaningless, but in the case of Bargnani, after his past two down seasons, you have to wonder if this is a negative trend.
He’s only played in five games and he is working himself back into shape, so it’s not time to panic just yet, but I would be a little concerned.
Bargnani simply has to shoot the ball much better for this Knicks team to maximize their potential.
As the preseason winds down, Bargnani is one player worth keeping an eye on.
The bottom line is that he needs to be much better when the Knicks open up their season October 30 against the Milwaukee Bucks.
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