The New York Knicks lost yet another body this afternoon, this time to Andrea Bargnani. The team announced today that Bargnani is out indefinitely after an MRI revealed a torn ligament in his left elbow.
Of course, no one is ever happy to hear about an injury, and Bargnani is no exception. At the very least, Bargnani seems like a good guy and he’s a serviceable big man for a team currently lacking some bigger bodies.
Still, Bargnani was facing an uphill battle in winning Knicks fans over and hasn’t done much to win that battle. Bargnani struggled in his last two seasons with the Toronto Raptors, averaging 16 points on just 41.5% shooting, 30.3% from downtown, and 4.6 rebounds per game. Combined with his injury struggles, the Raptors were so low on Bargnani that there were rumors they would use the amnesty clause on him in the summer.
And then the Knicks swooped in. Not only did New York trade Steve Novak and Marcus Camby (not a bad price to pay, all in all), but they included three draft picks, including a first rounder. The Knicks were essentially fleeced for a player that was bound for the open market.
However, the bigger problem is that Bargnani hasn’t fit in with this team. Last year’s Knicks’ success came with Carmelo Anthony at the four, surrounded by shooters and Tyson Chandler in the middle. Bargnani hasn’t provided adequate floor-spreading in four or five years (he’s shooting 27.8% from three-point range this year) and his defense is, well, awful. With Bargnani on the floor and no Carmelo Anthony, the Knicks have a 91.6 offensive rating and a 110.2 defensive rating. Not good.
We’ll see if Mike Woodson is forced to go to smaller lineups now, which, of course, is how the Knicks play their best ball. In the meantime, get well soon, Andrea Bargnani.