Oh my god. Where the hell do I start…?
Not surprisingly, a player like Bargnani, with historically atrocious rebounding rates for the center position posted a 10.4 TRB%, something indicative of his inexpert center play. His 5.3 rebounds a game average didn’t help the Knicks’ 27th ranked total rebound ranking nor did his cornucopia of mental lapses when playing defense, something that’s been oblivious to him for his entire career.
Mike Woodson’s fetish for “big” lineups, a failed venture in Game 5 of last year’s Eastern Conference semis against the Pacers, re-surged in his mind during the offseason when Bargs was acquired. And it brainwashed himself by inserting a lethal defensive triumvirate that contained Carmelo Anthony at his traditional 3 position, Bargs at the 4 and Tyson Chandler at the 5.
Now, I didn’t mind with Woodson experimenting with the big lineups again for a little bit. Just like anything else, see if the certain thing works. If it doesn’t work, then you simply move away from it. The thing was, though, the experimentation floundered, but Woodson continued to use it as if nothing happened throughout the whole season, which is where all hell broke loose.
Why Woodson was on the most exotic bath salts possible for most of the time when doing this, I couldn’t tell ya. Although the unit played for 90 minutes, the unit played for 90 minutes too many. The Felton-Shumpert-Anthony-Bargnani-Chandler lineup went 1-7, winning 12.5% of the time, posting a 126 DRtg and a -41 +/-. That’s…not good.
Bargs’ turning point on the defensive end, though, was when Tyson Chandler went down with a knee injury that shelved 4-6 weeks back in November. That’s where we saw Bargs getting the bulk of his starts at center.
In the middle of being a maladroit 7 footer, Bargs as a post defender was actually pretty scary to go up against. He looked rickety, but he was, for the most part, able to handle post players. Synergy had him at 119th when defending in the post, conceding only 0.80 points per possession, which is pretty good. When not being an idiot like this, this, or this (that one killed me), post defending was his sanctuary. He needed to take initiative in the post, considering that 78% of his minutes was played at the 5.