Toronto Raptors: 30 greatest players of all-time
30. Andrea Bargnani
I wouldn’t blame anyone if they were to stop reading immediately, but please don’t go.
The Andrea Bargnani story isn’t one to look back on with the fondest of memories, but he plays an important part in Raptors history. He couldn’t rebound, nor could he really play center despite being seven-foot for pity’s sake. I already feel sick doing this.
Bargnani was drafted number one overall in the 2006 NBA Draft, the same draft as a certain Kyle Lowry (more on him later, no spoilers). His reputation coming into the league was fairly impressive, he won the EuroLeague Rising Star award in his final season as well as finishing the season as an Italian League Champion and a two time Italian Cup winner.
A fairly productive resume for someone aged 20 years old, at the risk of alienating myself and the readers I’ve elected not to compare his achievements to those of Luka Doncic, mainly because I can’t.
Bargnani was an All-NBA First Team Rookie in his first season, coming off the bench and averaging 11.6 points a game with 50-percent effective field goal percentage.
He had his uses offensively — Bargnani could stretch the floor unlike a lot of power forwards and centers at the time. Maybe he was just born 10 years too early, or maybe he struggled to show up when it mattered most.
You’ll undoubtedly find Bargnani hovering around the top of many leaderboards for the Raptors, whether that’s down to the man himself grinding away or the Raptors for keeping him around as long as they did — he’s there.
His Raptors tenure was plagued with inconsistent performances, injuries and strange experiments that had him play at small forward, sort of like Kevin Durant — only nothing like him.
Bargnani was forced into a position where the Raptors wanted to win, but win with him, something that wasn’t all that possible. Ranking in the top 10 for games played and total points, you could argue that Bargnani did all he could under the circumstances, regardless he’s here. Somehow.
I’ve probably been too harsh on him here but the fact he’s included in this list is a testament to how humble I really am.