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Andrea Bargnani may come off the bench for Knicks

Oct 27, 2013, 12:30 PM EDT

Andrea Bargnani AP

Knicks head coach Mike Woodson envisioned Andrea Bargnani as a member of his starting lineup, someone who would cause matchup problems for his opponents that might struggle with how to defend the seven-footer who takes plenty of outside shots.

It’s been a slow process for Bargnani to adjust to both is new surroundings in New York as well as his new teammates. He’s struggled during the preseason, to the point where Woodson might not be able to trust him to play starter’s minutes just yet.

Woodson might not use regular season games to see if Bargnani is ready for that role, and may start Metta World Peace instead.

From Marc Berman of the New York Post:

Carmelo Anthony repeated several times Saturday that Andrea Bargnani’s transformation as a defensive-minded Knick won’t “happen overnight.’’ However, Knicks coach Mike Woodson said he won’t wait a long time for the 7-foot Italian to make it as full-time starting power forward.

If he has to change the big frontline of Tyson Chandler, Bargnani and Anthony by Wednesday’s season opener against Milwaukee, Woodson will. The obvious change would be to send Bargnani to the bench for small forward Metta World Peace. …

“I’ll experiment with [the big frontcourt], but I’ve got options this year,’’ Woodson said. “I can always go small, with Melo at the 4 with small teams and throw Bargnani in there when we got big teams. It’s not a matter of who starts, it’s what you do with the minutes that you’re in there. That’s the message I’m sending everybody on the team. You got to give productive minutes on the floor if you want to play.’’

That last part is a standard line from NBA head coaches — it doesn’t matter who starts the game, it matters who finishes it.

Most observers, however, disagreed with Woodson’s preference to try to pencil in Bargnani as a starter, mainly because it would send Carmelo Anthony to the small forward spot, when he was so effective playing the four last season.

Anyone who’s watched Bargnani over the past couple of seasons in Toronto won’t be at all surprised to hear he’s been struggling in his new environment. The Knicks will be patient, but they’ll need some level of production out of him, even as a reserve, to get where they want to go this season.

  1. themanchine - Oct 27, 2013 at 12:42 PM

    Melo was effective on O at the 4, not D. At the 3 he can still post up other 3’s but won’t get banged around as much.

  2. kb2408 - Oct 27, 2013 at 2:43 PM

    How in the world was this guy the very first pick in the whole entire draft? It boggles the mind. He ain’t Dirk.

    • johngalt1783 - Oct 27, 2013 at 4:01 PM

      He has a lot of skills, but no effort and even less heart when it comes to banging in the paint.

      • borderline1988 - Oct 27, 2013 at 6:00 PM

        It’s not about heart. I saw him play his entire career in Toronto. He has heart, and he tries.

        The problem is that his offensive skill-set is very limited. He can shoot the ball pretty well, but can’t put the ball on the floor at all. He’s one of those players who when putting the ball on the floor, puts his head down and has tunnel vision. He doesn’t have the ability to react to a defense; he just makes a move and goes to the rim. His footwork and decision-making in traffic is poor for an NBA player.
        His best move is the pump-fake, one dribble, and jumpshot. Trust me, you don’t want this guy driving to the rim b/c he will commit charges all day long. The poor footwork and inability to react to a defense limits his offensive post game as well.

        Defensively, he’s decent one-on-one, but is a bit slow providing help defense. He also lacks the athletiscm to explode to the ball, which is why he loses many rebounds that he should get. Lastly, he can get wide-eyed when an opposing player shoots (much like Chris Bosh) thus allowing a smaller player to gain position on him while the shot is in the air, and grabbing a rebound over him.

        At the end of the day, he’s a decent shooting big man, with the ability to put one-dribble down and rise for a jumper. He can cause matchup problems in the right situations. But he isn’t anywhere close to a franchise player…he’s like the second coming of Brad Miller.

      • johngalt1783 - Oct 27, 2013 at 8:44 PM

        While I agree with some of your points on the main one we have an honest difference of opinion. I watched him play the last four seasons. I guess we saw the games differently. Lets leave it at that.

      • oasis511 - Oct 27, 2013 at 9:54 PM

        I was following along to what borderline was saying until he called Bargnani the “second coming of Brad Miller.” You mean the Brad Miller who had more than 6,000 career rebounds and was the best passing big man in the league for about 10 years? There’s no comparison between the two. That’s like saying Brandon Jennings is the second coming of John Stockton.

    • kb2408 - Oct 27, 2013 at 5:05 PM

      I beg to differ, he has (had) exactly one skill, long range shooting. And over the last couple of seasons he hasn’t even done that consistently.

    • jimeejohnson - Oct 27, 2013 at 9:08 PM

      Bribed the judges with lasagna.

    • bougin89 - Oct 28, 2013 at 4:56 PM

      It was an incredibly weak draft especially at the very top.

      Bargnani 1st
      Adam Morrison 3rd
      Tyrus Thomas 4th
      Shelden Williams 5th
      Randy Foye 7th
      Patrick Obryant 9th
      Mouhamed Sene 10th

      They should have went with Aldridge although at the time it wasn’t like he was a can’t miss #1 either.

  3. blazermaniac22 - Oct 27, 2013 at 2:45 PM

    Carmelo’s transformation to a defensive minded knick hasn’t even started… Most overrated player in the last 25 years.. I love it that the Knicks are terrible

  4. cruzan80 - Oct 27, 2013 at 4:08 PM

    The starting lineup should’ve always been projected as

    Metta World Peace

    Don’t know why they were ever considering starting Bargnani in the first place. This gives them an incredibly tough defensive starting 5 with actually better scoring than what they started last season & now the bench will have much fire power in offense which is what you want in your bench anyway.

  5. adamsjohn714 - Oct 27, 2013 at 4:20 PM

    I think the Knicks are having the hard time adjusting to how bad this guy is. Everyone said he just needed a change of environment, a change of culture. They said his numbers were bad in Toronto because the team was bad. It’s starting to become clear to the New York fans. This guy is a school bus fire in a basketball uniform.

    • sportsfan18 - Oct 27, 2013 at 5:07 PM

      Well, I don’t have a dog in this fight as I’m older, grew up outside of Chicago and was a Bulls fan long before MJ ever got there… I remember sitting in the old stadium watching Artis Gilmore play center for the Bulls against the Washington Bullets (well, that’s what they were named then).

      Anyway, excluding free throws, for all the 2 point shots Bargs has taken in his career and the 3 point shots he’s taken in his career, he scores a tad more points per shot that Melo has taken in his career (both 2 pt & 3 pt shots).

      Take all their career 2 & 3 pt makes and add their total points scored for both shots while on the court and divided by their total shot attempts and one will see that for every shot attempt while out on the court by Bargani, he scores .978858 points per shot he takes. Melo averages .960724 points per shot while he’s on the court. Again, this doesn’t count free throws.

      So, Bargs, while on the court and shooting both 2 and 3 point shots will score a tad more per shot than Melo has per shot in his career so far…

      Also, Melo isn’t known as a great defender either (neither is Bargs I know).

      Again, I don’t have a dog in the fight, I’m not a Knicks fan. Melo is the better player. I’m not that dumb but this is math, not opinion. One may calculate how many points per shot any player makes per shot attempt (or total shot attempts by combining both 2 & 3 pt shots) and it provides good insight to see just how much one scores when the shoot the ball from the field.

      Melo has always scored a lot simply because he shoots a lot. Volume scorer…

      • adamsjohn714 - Oct 27, 2013 at 5:23 PM

        I’m not sure where I said Melo was all that good, but you can’t just ignore free throws. They’re a vital part of the game. Let’s just ignore Bargs abysmal rebounding, passing, defense, etc. and call him MJ already. It’s the same line of reasoning.

      • casualcommenter - Oct 27, 2013 at 6:03 PM

        That’s true, but one of the ways star players are so valuable is specifically their ability to draw fouls.

        Fouls give their team easy points. Fouls get opponents into foul trouble, which weakens the opposing defense.

        So while you’re correct that Carmelo Anthony has never been an incredibly efficient scorer, any analysis that excludes his ability to draw fouls is going to undervalue him, especially since teams will intentionally foul him whenever he’s about to get an easy shot off (ex. a layup).

      • redbaronx - Oct 27, 2013 at 6:11 PM

        @sportsfan18 – Are you really trying to compare Bargnani to Melo??? Be serious man. You even acknowledge Melo is the better player (by far). Using scoring per shot to compare them is downright silly!

      • sportsfan18 - Oct 27, 2013 at 7:57 PM

        NO, I’m NOT trying to compare them and that’s why I said Melo is better. But for all of the times that each man has attempted a field goal while on the court in their careers, Bargs HAS averaged more points for each time the ball has left his hand as he made a field goal attempt than Melo. It’s no different than one plus one equaling two… it’s just math is all and I KNOW there is more to the game than that. I just wanted to point out something that very few people would realize which is that when Bargs shoots, he’ll score more points per shot than Melo does…

        Melo scores a lot because he shoots a lot. Now I’ll turn my attention to that part of his game.

        This past season, Melo led the league in scoring at 28.7 pts a game. Why did he lead the league in scoring? It’s because he averaged 22.22 shots per game.

        Durant was second in the league in scoring at 28.1 pts per game on only 17.7 shots per game.

        Just how much more efficient is Durant than Melo? Let’s go back to the season before last, 2 yrs ago.

        Melo “only” averaged 18.6 shots a game (below his career average). Those 18.6 shots per game 2 seasons ago were still more than Durant’s 17.7 shots a game last yr. Again, Durant averaged 28.1 pts per game on his 17.7 shots. Melo only averaged 22.6 points on his 18.6 shots per game 2 yrs ago.

        Imagine last yr, when Melo led the leauge in scoring if he only took say, 19 or 20 shots a game… he wouldn’t have come close to leading the league in scoring.

        So you see, Melo scores a lot because he shoots a lot…

      • adamsjohn714 - Oct 27, 2013 at 8:17 PM

        Melo also is much more efficient than Bargs BECAUSE free throws matter. They aren’t just made up things that you can ignore. You can’t cherry pick the stats you like.

      • sportsfan18 - Oct 27, 2013 at 9:13 PM


        YES, free throws are a part of the game. The only reason I excluded them was simply to point out that on ALL field goal attempts for each player in their careers, Bargs averages more points per shot than Melo.

        Again, free throws count overall, but free throws are NOT field goal attempts. Free throws are separate from field goal attempts and I was only considering FG attempts.

        I’m NOT making more of this, it seems as if others are. Melo is the better player by far. I’m not a Knicks fan, Bargs fan or Melo fan.

        I simply wanted to point out something that very few would know is all and that’s that Bargs scores more points per FIELD GOAL attempt he takes than Melo.

        Nothing more. I’m positive almost everyone didn’t know this so I wanted to point it out is all.

        Is it earth shattering? Of course not! But I wasn’t putting anyone down or saying stuff that is common and known to all. I just wanted to shared something out of the ordinary is all.

        I didn’t say anywhere that free throws don’t count so please don’t put words in my mouth.

      • sportsfan18 - Oct 27, 2013 at 9:17 PM


        As you correctly pointed out, I left free throws out.

        Bargs career free throw percentage is .825%,

        Melo’s career free throw percentage is .808%.

        It goes back to volume for Melo, which was one of my points…

      • adamsjohn714 - Oct 27, 2013 at 9:18 PM

        There is a pretty high correlation between FGA and FTA, so you can’t exactly separate the two. Technically, you are correct, but you might as well be saying that Bargnani has a better haircut, because they mean about the same thing when comparing the two players. Your observation offers absolutely zero insight into the value of the two players in relation to eachother.

      • oasis511 - Oct 27, 2013 at 10:46 PM

        I understand what you’re saying, but it really doesn’t have much validity. No one uses points per field goal attempt because the ability to get to the foul line is a major factor in offensive efficiency.

        Ironically, you compare Durant’s 28 points on 18 shot attempts to Melo’s 29 points on 22 shot attempts. That comparison INCLUDES free-throws, and Durant got to the foul line more than 9 times per game last year. But when you compare Melo to Bargnani you exclude free-throws.

        Most people use PPP – points per possession. Durant averaged an astonishing 1.22 points per possession last year, a mark which stands up to the best of all time. Anthony was no slouch either, averaging 1.14 points per possession. That’s still way above league average. Then you get to Bargnani, who was way below league average at 0.94 last year and right around the league average at 1.04 the year before. Bargnani for his career is at 1.03, while Melo is at 1.08.

        Yeah, Bargnani shoots a higher percentage from the foul line. But Anthony gets to the foul line 7.8 times on average compared to Bargnani’s 3.3. And that’s where the difference lies. The stats that you used, though interesting, have no meaning.

      • adamsjohn714 - Oct 27, 2013 at 11:04 PM

        But Melo’s FTA are way higher, making his scoring from his FTs much more effective and influential in his TS%, which is much more important…. Who cares how good a FT shooter you are if you never take any?

    • redbaronx - Oct 27, 2013 at 6:08 PM

      @adamsjohn714 – Spot on. This was a bad trade for the Knicks.

    • jimeejohnson - Oct 27, 2013 at 9:06 PM

      You realize they do have a couple of Italian restaurant and a couple of other vestiges of Italian culture in NYC.

  6. jimeejohnson - Oct 27, 2013 at 9:05 PM

    If he becomes a sensation he’ll need a nickname…how about Béchamel…whadya mean “no”?

  7. jbeagles23 - Oct 27, 2013 at 9:35 PM

    Who cares about points per shot? Most useless stat ever. Bargnani is a plug and won’t see the court in ny come January

    • adamsjohn714 - Oct 27, 2013 at 10:11 PM

      points per shot is pretty useful as long as you incorporate free throws as well. I prefer Net Points, which incorporates volume.

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