In Week 3 of our "Tweet Bag" series, there was a lot of talk about Andrea Bargnani and how badly many fans want him gone. I got flooded with trade scenarios and opinions, so that is touched on in this week's Tweet Bag, along with some talk about perceived sleights by the referees.
Lots of Internet talk about the Raps getting hosed by the refs recently, specifically Demar....do you agree?
Heading into Sunday's game against the Magic, Toronto ranked 16th in the league in free throw attempts per game (23.7) and DeMar DeRozan ranked 11th in the whole NBA in free throw attempts per game (5.7) - so no, I don't think the Raptors are getting hosed.
I think if the Raptors are getting the short end of the stick in any foul-related area it's with Jonas Valanciunas, and that's to be expected since he's a rookie big man who plays an aggressive style of ball. His problem is he is learning how to avoid calls while still playing his game. He finds himself too often in 50-50 situations where a ref can call a foul and has to use his or her judgement as to whether or not to do it. Being a rookie with a reputation for aggressive play, he's rarely given the benefit of the ref's judgement. As time goes on he'll learn the subtler art of positioning not only to get stops and rebounds but also to avoid getting calls in the process.
Here's a thought..not one I'm certain about yet. Bargnani for Stoudemire
I've gotten flooded with trade scenarios for Andrea Bargnani since he's started the season so slowly, so really I'm using this question as a template to answer a lot of others.
First, the Raptors are not going to assume much risk in a return for Bargnani. After this season, Bargnani has only two seasons left on his deal, with the last being at Bargnani's discretion as he has the right to terminate the final year of his contract. As a result, the Raptors don't feel overburdened by having him around. They aren't desperate to get rid of him, and so a team is not going to be able to dump their trash on Toronto thinking that they club is eager to part with Bargnani.
Second, anyone they got to replace Bargnani at power forward has to, first and foremost, make sense alongside Valanciunas and DeRozan. That means that they have to land someone who can space the floor with his jump shot, opening up the paint for post-ups and drives. They need a guy who fits the personality that the team is trying to establish, which means effort and hustle are prerequisites. Also, if possible, they should see if they can land a solid passer at the position, too, as the club lacks facilitators and it has shown in the club's difficulties at the offensive end.
Lastly and most importantly, though, is that the club would need to be taking a step forward with any trade involving Bargnani. While fans can possess the snide attitude that any trade would be better than keeping Bargnani around, that isn't true. He isn't playing well right now, but he isn't dead weight, either. Bargnani still has supporters in the organization even if he isn't a great fit with the direction of the team. They aren't simply going to cut-and-run with him. They don't need a better player in return for Bargnani, just a better fit. They won't get Paul Millsap, but he's a perfect example of what the team needs: hard work, floor spacing and strong defensive fundamentals.
Why PF when we need a 3? (in reference to a return for Bargnani)
The Raps have need of a small forward, it's true, but if they trade away Bargnani they'd need a starting-calibre power forward even more.
Here's the thing; if DeMar DeRozan has really turned a corner then the need for a high-scoring three has dimmed somewhat since last summer. If you believe in DeRozan's development then what you really need at the three is a stellar defender who can hit the corner three and pass the ball. The Raptors think that they have that in Landry Fields, and at least want to see him play post-surgery before they make up their mind on him one way or another. If you don't believe in DeRozan's development... well, that doesn't really matter because the Raptors' management does.
So, that being the case, the priority if Bargnani is traded would be replacing him. Amir Johnson and Ed Davis are far too limited to anchor the frontcourt for the Raptors, and Valanciunas is too young. Now, since the Raptors are also angling to trade Jose Calderon this season, there is the chance to replace Bargnani in a subsequent deal, but that's getting pretty far ahead of the curve since Bargnani isn't even officially on the trading block yet.