The Toronto Raptors are currently on an eight-game losing streak, and with four more games left in their road trip around the western conference, it does not seem like things will be getting brighter. That is, until Andrea Bargnani comes back.
Before Andrea Bargnani's injury, the Raptors were 25th in league scoring. While this is nothing to cheer about, it is better than the 29th ranking they currently hold. The only team under them is the Detroit Pistons, who are scoring about 85.3 points per game against opponents. The Raptors are only 0.1 points higher than the Pistons, which is the only reason they are not dead last.
Last season, with almost the exact same team as this year minus Reggie Evans (who barely scored) and Sonny Weems, the Raptors were able to average 99 points per night. A 14-point drop is very shocking to a team that looks similar.
In the past five games, the Raptors have amassed a low scoring average of 79 points per game, with a 64-point output against the Chicago Bulls, the season's second-lowest behind the 62-point game against Philadelphia.
Andrea Bargnani is currently the Toronto Raptor's best player. He is playing consistently and has improved his defensive game compared to last season. If Andrea Bargnani were playing against the Clippers, Blazers or Hawks, the game may have been in Toronto's favor because of Bargnani's scoring ability.
I was able to attend the Raptors-Clippers game (the only time I can see my team live this season), and the first half of the game was downright embarrassing. With four minutes left in the first, the Raptors had only scored six points, ending the quarter with 11.
The Raptors bench outscored the starters 58-33. Linas Kleiza and Leandro Barbosa led bench players with 15 and 19 points, respectively. This is something you want to see from your bench, but not the starters. If Toronto wants to compete in games then players like Demar DeRozan and Jose Calderon need to step it up.
Andrea Bargnani has been attacked by Raptor fans who want him out of the city for a couple of years. Hopefully those same Raptor fans notice how poorly the team has been playing without him, and are anxious for his return.
The best player and true MVP of this team, Andrea Bargnani is a key piece to the future, and most obviously, the offense.