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Posts Tagged ‘Andrea Bargnani

Why Steve Novak may be more talented than Andrea Bargnani

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English: Basketball player Steve Novak during ...

 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

When the Knicks traded for Andrea Bargnani, clearly they anticipated an upgrade, or the chance at one. Bargnani is both much more expensive than Novak and it cost New York a 1st and two 2nds to make the swap, thus by logic they prefer Bargnani.

Regardless of how they feel about Novak’s production the last 2 seasons vs a standard Bargnani year, it seems obvious they prefer Andrea’s talent. Bargnani is a former #1 pick and is more physically gifted, thanks to both a 7’1 height in shoes and greater athleticism.

However I’ve made the point repeatedly on this blog, that treating physical tools as the near end all of talent is dangerous. What Novak lacks physically compared to Bargnani, he may make up elsewhere:

First consider that Novak is a better pure shooter than Bargnani. Aside from his career 43.3% 3P to Bargnani’s 36.1%, Novak has a career FT% of 88.6% to Bargnani’s 82.5%. Novak shoots free throws at a rate reserved for the NBA’s shooting greats. In addition to this, Novak had an incredible shooting career at Marquette, hitting 46.1% from 3 and 93.1% from the FT line over 4 years. While Novak has only taken 105 free throws in his entire NBA career putting his FT% in small sample size dispute, that he took 261 FTAs in college at an even better rate, helps confirm his ability. The evidence suggests that for pure shooting, Novak is among the best of the best along with NBA players like Steve Nash, Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant, etc. Whereas Bargnani is an above average shooter for a big man, but not as freakishly gifted at it.

However the biggest difference may be in mental talent. Bargnani has awareness issues, the root of falling behind so often in help defense. Even on offense, Bargnani has never struck me as a natural or fluid basketball player. He’s not a player who surveys plays or feels his opponents out. Very few of his plays could be described as crafty. Bargnani to me, has a similar affliction that athletes like Javale McGee and Anthony Randolph do. Despite obvious talents they do not read the game well. Chris Kaman is another big man who has standout skills with size and mobility, but can’t pick up plays fast enough in a read and react dominated game. What separates Brook Lopez and Chris Kaman has everything to do with this feel and instincts.

Novak on the other hand, knows positioning, recognizes space when shooting and in the few times he needs to move shows a degree of smoothness and fluidity. Overall I would argue Novak has a better feel for the game than Bargnani does.

That’s not to say Novak is for sure more talented than Bargnani. Bargnani’s athleticism does give him more versatility attacking the basket or creating midrange jumpers off the dribble. Bargnani’s height and strength allows him to defend the post more than Novak. While defensively he may lose plays mentally more than Novak, if he’s in the area his physical tools allow him to contest shots better. It’s hard to pin down just how much value Bargnani’s physical talents could have, if it’s accepted he’s an enigma who doesn’t use all of it.

Nevertheless, to me calling Steve Novak more talented than Andrea Bargnani is perfectly reasonable. For while Bargnani may have the edge in physical gifts, I see Novak’s special talent as a shooter and his feel potentially making up the difference.

Written by jr.

October 9, 2013 at 11:21 pm

NBA Fan Q&A: Toronto Raptors

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From now on after a ranking of players on the NBA Franchise Power Rankings, I will post quotes from the fans – taken from RealGM.com, most of the time. With the Raptors ranking at #22 here,  I debute a roundup of their answers to 6 of my questions from fans of the team:

Q: Do you believe extending Bryan Colangelo was a good idea, and why?

J-Roc: No, GM’s are a dime a dozen and he blew his change here.

J Dilla: No. Handed out rich contracts to crappy players. Promoted and extended Jay Triano. Gave away Bosh for nothing when he could’ve had a young asset in Michael Beasley. Has a flawed vision of building an NBA basketball team.

pass first: Great decision. BC is the man. I like his track record despite what other people say.

witnessraps: Extending Bryan Colangelo was absolutely a good decision. The guy is a proven winner and has a great track record of drafting, and the 2012 draft is where we plan to make noise. People need to understand that things don’t always work out on the first try, he now has another chance to build this team into a contender and I like where we are right now.

Silk Wilkes: Yes. The options out there were limited and a 2-year contract gives him a short period of time to prove himself. It’s a now or never deal. However, if he fails and they extend him again I would be scratching my head.

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Written by jr.

October 22, 2011 at 2:10 pm

NBA Franchise Power Rankings: #22 – Toronto Raptors

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Andrea Bargnani dunk Toronto Raptors Miami Heat

Image via Wikipedia

Previous rankings:

#30 - Charlotte Bobcats (+ introduction)
#29 - Phoenix Suns
#28 - Denver Nuggets
#27 - Detroit Pistons
#26 - Milwaukee Bucks
#25 - Philadelphia 76ers
#24 - Houston Rockets
#23 - Portland Trailblazers

#22- Toronto Raptors

Best assets – C Jonas Valanciunas (rookie, projects as legitimate starter to borderline all-star), 2012 1st, 2013 1st, C Andrea Bargnani (legitimate starter), SG DeMar DeRozan (young, projects as legitimate starter to borderline all-star), PF Ed Davis (young, projects as legitimate starter), PG Jerryd Bayless (young, projects as bench player to borderline starter), PF Amir Johnson (borderline starter), SF James Johnson (bench player), SG Sonny Weems (bench player)

Negative assets – SF Lina Kleiza (3 years, 13.8 million), PG Jose Calderon (2 years, 20.2 million)

Other chips: SG Leandro Barbosa (borderline starter, expiring)

Total Trade Value Ranking: #21 (Feb. 2011 ranking: #25)

Financial Grade: A-

Managerial Grade: C

Overall synopsis: The Raptors are making their way through the post Chris Bosh abyss. The problem with Bosh’s absence is of course, not simply that they lost him, but that they got almost literally nothing for him. Since a perenniel all-star is the most valuable thing you can have, that left a crater in their overall trade value and sent them years back.

Yet, the team has still accumulated a solid group of young players. Behind legitimate starter Andrea Bargnani and the advanced statistics friendly Amir Johnson, they have a number of players to starter to all-star potential in DeMar DeRozan, Jonas Valanciunas, Ed Davis. Read the rest of this entry »

Kevin Love, Dirk Nowitzki, Spencer Hawes, Andrea Bargnani and “Vertical” vs “Horizontal” rebounding

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Kevin Love, the 5th pick

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Measuring an individual’s impact on team rebounding is a tricky, mystifying subject. In a way, rebounding is analogous to scoring in that it’s not as simple as measuring points per game and assigning impact from that alone. When a player takes a shot, he may be infringing on another player’s effectiveness or drawing enough defensive attention to improve it. Corey Maggette appears to get in the way of teammates by selfishly stopping the ball, Dirk Nowitzki appears to help teammates greatly by drawing defenders out of the paint. Even staticians favored stats like True Shooting %, measuring points per shot, can miss the whole picture.

Rebounding has even less statistics differentiating it. We have rebounds per game, Rebound %, plus/minus stats… and that’s about it. The rest we have to judge ourselves.

There are rebounders who have higher numbers on the boards who draw skepticism. Among those are Kevin Love, David Lee and Marcus Camby. The reason for this is that it looks like that instead of boxing out an opponent to get a rebound, they prefer to chase the ball to where it’s going to go. This is fine, but if they guess wrong, the man they’re not boxing out is open to get it. If they do get it, they may be taking a rebound a teammate was already going to get – thus despite being credited with the rebound, they are giving their team no additional value on the play. Thus the defensive rebound on this play is a misleading stat. On the other hand, if a player like Dirk Nowitzki shuts down his opposing PF’s bid to grab a rebound by boxing out and the ball is going towards him, but at the last moment a horizontally moving teammate grabs it, the player who grabbed it gets the rebounding credit, but it’s likely Dirk who deserved it.

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Getting a head start on the draft: Why I have Perry Jones III as the #1 prospect

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Image via Bleacher Report

For half the fans in the league, the upcoming draft is more important than  the upcoming playoffs by this time of year. More than any sport, NBA teams have their fortunes determined by the draft and lottery. The teams that get star players in the draft win, the teams that don’t lose. When your team is bad, it’s the draft that matters.

For the first time since the 2006 draft where Andrea Bargnani went #1 (excuse me while I puke, I’m a Raptors fan) there’s no “surefire star” prospect. Nobody is a cinch prospect like John Wall, Derrick Rose, Blake Griffin and Greg Oden had he stayed healthy were.

Who’s #1? Right now PF Perry Jones III and PG Kyrie Irving seem to have the edge for top 2. A brief scouting report on each: Jones is a 6’11 PF who wants to play like a perimeter player, has freakish athleticism, but is raw and skinny. Irving is a complete PG – He’s fast, has decent size, has great ballhandling and shooting skills, and clearly reads the floor well. Irving is a very good prospect, but I believe Jones III is the top prospect in the draft for these reasons:

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Written by jr.

February 15, 2011 at 8:01 pm