Does the 2011 NBA Draft for the Toronto Raptors, Hinge on Andrea Bargnani?

Andrea Bargnani and Chris Bosh never really "fit" on the court together in Toronto...can the Raps find someone in this draft who complements Bargs'?


Tthe HQ ponders the upcoming draft and wonders if a big chunk of it doesn't depend on a certain former first overall pick...

A few days ago I came across an interesting post on SB Nation regarding the draft.

The article, as can be viewed here, discussed an issue many top prospects face when they first enter the NBA, an issue of "fit."

It's not fit in the sense of "we drafted a 6-9 guy, and we're trying to play him at the 5 but it's not quite working."

No, it's fit more in the sense that many draft picks are used to being the "go-to" guys on their college teams for offence, and when they join their respective NBA clubs, that's not the case.  They might be the second or third option offensively, but often they're fourth or fifth, or they find themselves coming off the bench.

For some, that's not such an issue but the article does a good job of pointing out that players who lack certain translatable skills such as 3 point shooting, well, they struggle, especially early on.

The example given in the post in fact is Evan Turner.

Used to being the go-to guy at Ohio State and surrounded by floor spacers like Jon Diebler, he was unstoppable.

But in the NBA, the 76ers already had a bevy of top offensive options and without 3 point shooting ability, Turner seemed lost, especially early in the season.

The whole thing got me thinking about the Raptors.

Aside from the point guard situation, anyone who's drafted in that top tier could face similar issues.

You could easily make the argument that unless BC is firmly committed to the drafting of a potential PG like Kemba Walker or Brandon Knight, guys like Kawhi Leonard, and Alec Burks could struggle to fit in.  Neither are good long-range shooters and in fact have similar games to James Johnson and DeMar DeRozan respectively, therefore duplicating many of the current Raptors' skill sets.

As well, with Andrea Bargnani and DeMar DeRozan being the top two options offensively for the Raps, and guys like Jose Calderon needing touches, there's not a lot of scoring to go around for any newcomer.

But if there's no Andrea...

Thinking about the upcoming draft process, you have to wonder how serious BC is about moving the Italian big man, and the final pick in June when all is said and done may go a long ways towards giving fans an idea of Bargs' future.

If a guy like Enes Kanter is the eventual pick, well that's probably a sign that Colangelo is not ready to give up on Andrea yet, moving him to the 4 with the newly acquired big man playing more of a true 5.

However if the Raptors select a player like Leonard, or even another big man who can play the 4 like Jan Vesely, then maybe Bargs is on his way out the door.

(And I don't think drafting a potential PG will give us much of an idea one way or another.)

In fact I'd argue that the Raptors need to have a plan in place for Andrea BEFORE they make their pick next month.

Right now, so much of the team's offensive planning and decisions are based around Andrea and whoever ends up being Toronto's fifth pick needs to "fit" with Bargs.  To me that means not requiring the ball in their hands to be effective on offense and that's why sharp-shooters like Chris Singleton and Klay Thompson might be very interesting additions.  As well as big men who can rebound the ball and grind out plays make a lot of sense, hence the aforementioned Kanter or someone like Jonas Valanciunas, 

In some ways that's why not landing a top two spot really hurts.

Kyrie Irving is a player who could have played with Andrea and not missed a beat whereas a Kemba Walker becomes a lot less effective I'd argue when he can't fire up 20 shots a game.

Derrick Williams would be very interesting too as both someone who could play the 3-4, and who's dead-eye long-range shooting from said spots would allow him to play with Bargs, further spreading the court too for guys like DeRozan.

Apparently the Raptors spent some time with Williams in Chicago, so perhaps they have the same idea.

The bottom line to me is here though is that in a draft with little elite talent, fit is more important than ever and the Raps really need to make a decision on Bargs before heading into that war room.  

Do they still view him as a building block?

Well if so, whoever their choice is at five needs to be able to complement or enhance what Andrea does.

In fact I still believe that one of the reasons the club is currently floundering is due to the selection of Andrea nearly five years ago; not because he didn't turn into Brandon Roy (pre-knee issues), but because he simply was never a great fit with Chris Bosh.

Come June, I sincerely hope the Raptors don't repeat that mistake again.

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