Any Raptors fan knows that Andrea Bargnani is an extremely talented scorer; he's good driving to the net and has a very solid jump shot. Unfortunately, he's one of the worst defenders in the entire NBA.
As a seven-footer, his shot-blocking ability is completely non-existent. He's also a terrible rebounder for a guy his size. One-on-one, he can't really stop anybody.
Lack of defensive talent aside, his hustle on "D" is downright awful. It's obvious when watching Raptors games that Bargnani wants no part of the defensive side of the game. He doesn't take charges, and is about as physical as a kitten.
His defensive liabilities don't end with hustle and talent problems. Bargnani is god-awful when it comes to positioning. On most plays he can be found playing off his man somewhere near the top of the key. For a center/power forward, that is a terrible place to be.
If I was in charge I would surely trade the Italian big man. I don't know what NBA GMs consider his value to be though, so a trade scenario is a difficult thing to ponder.
Dwayne Casey has just been brought in from the Dallas Mavericks to be the head coach to change Bargnani, and the rest of the Raptors' defensive play.
Casey was a tremendous hire; he is exactly what the upstart Raptors need. I think he will be able to get the most defensively out of everyone on the roster, except Bargnani. I just don't think that he has what it takes to play good defense.
His offensive talent is undeniable; Bargnani can score against any big man in the NBA with great ease. He stretches the floor very well to open up the lane, and is good moving without the ball.
If the Raptors had him come off the bench, Andrea would be a much more effective player. He's going to get his points no matter what, that's a given.
The upside to coming off the bench is that he doesn't have to cover the number one or two big man on opposing teams. This will allow him to be much less of a liability to the team's defense.
Center and power forward are the deepest positions on the Raptors. They have three proven players in Ed Davis, Amir Johnson and Reggie Evans. They just drafted Lithuanian center Jonas Valanciunas, who has the potential to be a true starting NBA center. The need for Andrea Bargnani to start is non-existent.
Dwayne Casey is a defensive mastermind, and I doubt he will keep Bargnani in the starting lineup for much longer. If GM Brian Coleangelo doesn't trade the big man, the bench could be the best place for him.