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Former Raptors coach Mitchell piles on Andrea Bargnani, too

Jan 4, 2013, 11:54 AM EDT

Raptors Bargnani reacts to a missed basket against the Nets during their NBA basketball game in Toronto Reuters

We told you yesterday how the Toronto Raptors are 8-2 in their last 10 games, and how that neatly coincides with the 10 games Andrea Bargnani has been out.

Now, to be fair, it also coincides with the 10-game soft stretch of the Raptors schedule, but we’re not going to let that get in the way of some good Bargnani bashing. Everyone in Toronto is pretty much done with him, they just need to find a trading partner (and good luck with that).

To add to the piling on, we bring you former Raptors coach Sam Mitchell, speaking with

“I wasn’t allowed to coach Andrea the same way I was allowed to coach Jose (Calderon),” Mitchell told Tim & Sid on Sportsnet 590 The Fan on Wednesday. “I was a hard ass on Jose; I was hard on him, but look at the type of player he turned out to be.

“I was not allowed to be that tough on Andrea because within the organization we felt he couldn’t take it. And my whole thing was if he can’t take it then we can’t build around him. And no one thought Jose could take it, and Jose did.”

So you’re saying a top pick and guy thought to be a franchise player got special treatment in the NBA? No way. That has never happened before. I’m shocked.

Of course, the flaw here is that Mitchell being a hard a** with Bargnani wouldn’t have changed the way he plays. It didn’t really change Calderon, either, not to burst his bubble. Calderon was 24 his first season in the NBA, had played plenty in Spain where his game was formed, and by his second season when he adjusted to the style of play was putting up solid numbers in the NBA.

But let’s not let that get in the way of some good Bargnani bashing.

  1. Mr. Wright 212 - Jan 4, 2013 at 12:10 PM

    How does a bad team have a “soft” schedule ha? They’re the softest of the soft. Bargniani is just not good for chemistry there.

    • Distinguished Male - Jan 4, 2013 at 1:06 PM

      Not sure what point you’re getting at in that first part of your sentence there. Toronto has played teams that aren’t considered contenders for most of that 10 game stretch, is what Kurt is saying.

      But a seven footer who refuses to rebound, thinks he’s Reggie Miller on the wing, is a volume shooter like AI but with even less efficiency? I can’t imagine he’d be good for chemistry anywhere. Maybe a team struggling for offense but can hide him on defense/boards.

      • borderline1988 - Jan 4, 2013 at 1:31 PM

        In today’s NBA, where team defense is key and much more important than any single one defender (especially at the forward and centre positions), you simply cannot hide a guy who doesn’t provide any help defense whatsoever.

        There are other guys like that (Kevin Love, Al Jefferson) but if you’re not making it up with rebounding, intangibles, good efficient offense, etc., then you become a real liability on the court. Which is exactly what Bargnani is.

      • skinsfanwill - Jan 6, 2013 at 1:24 AM

        it sure worked for Dirk. The problem is they haven’t had a decent coach, including Sam Mitchell since I don’t know how long. You can’t develop a player when the person developing him is a bum coach and was an even worse player. Sam Mitchell was a hack and that’s it.

  2. misterchainbluelightning - Jan 4, 2013 at 12:58 PM

    Barn hasn’t done himself any favours while in TO. Most of his interviews over the years have him coming cocky. To listen to him he figures he’s already at Dirk’s level. If the idea of post play came up he would give a “are you stupid look” and then smile saying something to the effect of “he’s not worried about ANYTHING to do with his shot or his offensive game”. I tell you this, it’s HARD to get the sporting fans of Toronto to utterly give up and dislike you. And this guy has managed to do it.

  3. nygdriveforfive - Jan 4, 2013 at 1:10 PM

    This makes me think about the stories of MJ making Kwame Brown cry in his rookie season. MJ tried to toughen him up. Ya not so much. I think you nailed it kurt. If the Raps were hard on Barny it wouldn’t have mattered. You can’t force hustle and attitude.

  4. nygdriveforfive - Jan 4, 2013 at 1:15 PM

    I Don’t think chemistry is the issue with Barny. The issue is fit. From all accounts Barny is a good teammate and good in the locker room.

  5. leeeroooyjeeenkiiins - Jan 4, 2013 at 2:40 PM

    During this winning stretch I’ve noticed that Bargnani is not just a detriment to the defense, but to the offense as well. This seems odd as he is often the leading scorer, but the PPG numbers reflect that it is true.

    The problem with Bargnani offensively is similar to his problems on defense: he doesn’t move. The current Raptors offense revolves around ball movement as well as consistent driving to the hoop and kicking out when necessary. No selfish nonsense. It’s all about constant movement, working to get the best shot possible. While we sometimes drift back into ISO ball or shooting the 3 immediately, for the most part they’ve been doing this very well lately.

    With Bargnani in the lineup, the flow disappears. Because when he gets the ball, he either shoots immediately or stands there, waiting for a teammate to bail him out. He doesn’t dribble around or drive and kick out, yet he’s usually on the perimeter. He also doesn’t play down low or help with picks, so he’s basically a solitary unit, a cog that isn’t spinning with the rest of the machine.

    So even though he often creates mismatches and occasionally scores a ton of points, he just isn’t the type of guy you can have in the lineup for 30+ minutes. I can see him being effective off the bench on certain teams(hopefully not Toronto, as we like to keep the same pace regardless of who is on the floor), but that’s where his role should stay. To think he can be a consistent starter seems silly at this point, and to try to build a franchise around him as Colangelo has been attempting for years is borderline insanity.

  6. lakerluver - Jan 4, 2013 at 7:40 PM

    Tell you what, Toronto, my LAKERS will trade you Jamison AND Jordan Hill for A.B. Whatcha say, Raps, deal?

    • badintent - Jan 5, 2013 at 1:39 AM

      You really want a slower Gasol ? Be real careful what you wish for, . Hill played super hard tonight, got the hard rebounds and played tough D in a tough game with Clippers.Andrea can’t spell D.

    • 00maltliquor - Jan 5, 2013 at 1:57 AM

      ARE YOU FREAKING KIDDING!!!??? Bargs for Jordan Hill!!!??? HELL NO!!!! Jordan Hill needs to start and get over 30 min. a game, not get traded for more bricks and no D!

  7. nygdriveforfive - Jan 4, 2013 at 8:06 PM

    Are you sure you want to get worse on D?

  8. michaeljordanseviltwin - Jan 5, 2013 at 6:39 PM

    Nobody thought Bargnani could take the criticism so Sam Mitchell wasn’t allowed to be a hard ass with him. Yet “And no one thought Jose could take it, and Jose did.” but “I was a hard ass on Jose”. Nice contradiction Sam. You make no sense now and you made no sense as a head coach.

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