Where black & blue is supposed to be the new green

Once the regular season starts, it is going to be very interesting to see what progress has been made by the Raptors’ 2006 No. 1 [overall] Draft Pick, Andrea Bargnani [7’0, 250], as he [and the team’s coaching staff] continues to re-define his individual game, at the NBA level.

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No more green light for free-shooting Bargnani
Last season, after all, Bargnani was the shooter who lost his touch, the seemingly-ascendant second-year player who fell off the improvement curve. Expected to build on his promise-filled rookie campaign, Bargnani regressed. And you know the rest.

So Mitchell figured thusly: “If he constantly shoots threes – yeah, the nights you’re making `em, no problem. But if you’re constantly shooting threes, at the skill level he has at his size, he’s bailing out the (opposing) big guy. They don’t have to worry about a lot of things. … They’ll take their chances and stand back and watch him.”

So, how did Bargnani react? Publicly, at least, he has lauded the merits of diversifying his arsenal, of working on his post game, and attempting to perfect the one-dribble pull-up from 17 feet.

I want to try to play the mid-range (game) because, first of all, it’s easier. … The basket is closer,” he said. “And with one dribble I can attack the basket. From the three-pointer, it’s more difficult for me (to drive). … I’m gonna get a charge most of the time.”

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Until further and substantial evidence has been presented before the Court, this Juror [#8], for one, is reserving judgment on the supposed development of a player who thinks that learning and then perfecting the mid-range game is somehow going to be easier than the one which he’s used to this point in his NBA career; namely, camping out behind the arc and hoisting up a series of 3’s, mostly of the willy nilly variety.

In contrast, it says here that learning and then effectively using a mid-range game, in the NBA, as a Big, is a difficult thing to do … especially, in comparison with jacking up largely uncontested 3PT-shots.

In general, 3PT-bombers have the GREEN Light … and are not REQUIRED to REBOUND the ball; or, to have substantial ‘lift’ on their one-dribble pull-up jumpshots; or, to refrain from traveling, while initiating a dribble move; or, to make the correct decision about when to pass the rock, off the bounce, to an open teammate for a better shot, as opposed to keeping it yourself, on the way to the basket; or, to successfully negotiate a mass of feet, legs, arms, shoulders, elbows & hands that tend to hang out in this area of the court, 12-18 feet away from the hoop, to disrupt the smooth flow of drives, cuts and intended passes into the lane. 

Players who operate in the mid-range area are.

At the end of the day, non 3PT-specialists, in the NBA, end up being BLACK & BLUE, a lot, on account of the high traffic they encounter on forays into the mid-range area of the court.

In the NBA, in general, masters of the mid-range game are perpetually moving Warriors, rather than Stand-still Philosopher/3PT-Kings.

Time will tell into which category Andrea Bargnani fits best, and if he is capable of filling the ‘new’ mold the Raptors have set aside for him [or not].

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4 Responses to “Where black & blue is supposed to be the new green”

  1. Dave Says:

    I’m happy with Bargnani working on his midrange game, it’s the element of his offensive arsenal that I most wanted to see developed.

  2. khandor Says:

    Dave,

    IMO, the element of Bargnani’s game which was in need of improvement the most … given the position he needs to play, in the NBA, moving forward from last season … was (i) his Rebounding, followed by his Low Post Game, followed by his Defense [individual & team].

    Which is not to say that his mid-range game was/is adequate, as is, at all; just that improving it was not the most important thing which Bargnani had/has to do in order to flourish as a Center [or a Power Forward] in the NBA.

  3. Dave Says:

    My order of wishes would be

    (1) Rebounding
    (2) Mid-range, mid-post game

    Then a good bit down the line

    (3) Defense

    Way way way down the line (4) a low post game. I think Bargnani is going to be much more effective on the midpost. His low post game needs one go to move to shake the 6-7 guys …. other than that his shooting and ability to play away from hoop are his strengths.

  4. khandor Says:

    Dave,

    IMO, there’s a difference between saying that Bargnani needs to be able to hit a mid-range [e.g. elbow] ‘catch & shoot jumpshot’ consistently and that he needs to work on his ‘mid-range game’, overall, as a perimeter-orientated Big.

    Bargnani’s lack of lateral quicks will hurt the development of his mid-range game, on the whole, and his defense, in the NBA.

    Fact is … Bargnani has a quick first step going to his right, for a NBA Big, but he is far from quick, in a general sense.

    IMO, it is going to take him a long time to improve his mid-range game.

    Right now, what Bargnani needs to do most is develop that one ‘go-to’ move in the Low Post, and a suitable counter for it, to compliment his ‘catch & shoot’ perimeter game; that’s it, from an offensive perspective.

    From a defensive POV, he must improve his Rebounding.

    If Il Mago was to do just these two things, he would be a highly usable NBA Big, IMO.

    The biggest hurdle which has hindered Bargnani’s development, to this point, offensively, is the system which the Raptors have used [primarily] during the Sam Mitchell era. What a player like Bargnani needs most, in the NBA game, which is different than the European game, is a series of well-integrated set plays designed to get his ‘catch & shoot Jumper’ off consistently, from specific spots on the floor.

    IMO, Bargnani’s inconsistent mid-range game only becomes a major factor in his offensive repertoire when a team doesn’t do this for him and, instead, tries to run a Euro-styled motion-based offense, in the NBA.

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