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RaptorsHQ Reader Collabo - Using Andrea Bargnani More Effectively

RaptorsHQ looks at a recent post by one of its readers and discusses the importance of a more offensively effective Andrea Bargnani...

One of the great things about the new site is that it allows readers to not only comment on our own blog entries, but to post entries themselves on a myriad of topics.

Recently, Yahoo Sports linked to one of our readers' fanposts and this morning, I thought it might be interesting to look at another; "How to Use Andrea Bargnani Better in 09-10."

Reader "bigwheeze" hypothesized that this season Raptors' fans could see a more effecient version of Andrea Bargnani thanks to Bryan Colangelo's offseason additions and went so far as to compare Andrea's current game to ex-Raptor Donyell Marshall.  There is no question that there are indeed similarities in their games, particularly in terms of style of play, but what I found interesting was that Marshall, never one viewed as an All-Star candidate, actually had superior statistics in many areas!

Here's an outtake:


Andrea Bargnani's game (08-09) at times reminds me of Donyell Marshall in his second season (04-05) when we stuck him at the 3pt line in the corner (though Bargnani seems to prefer the long 3).  Bargnani is clearly the more talented player offensively, but they duplicate two key similarities - great outside shot along with the ability to play C defensively.

We'll start off with a comparison of the two players.

Shot Selection (Jump/Close/Dunk/Tip)

- Marshall: 75 / 18 / 5 / 2 (61% 3PA, 15 FTA/100 FGA)
- Bargnani: 75 / 19 / 5 / 1 (30% 3PA, 28 FTA/100 FGA)

Almost exactly the same types of shot selection, though Bargnani takes half as many 3s (more 2pt jumpers) and makes it to the line twice as often as Marshall.

Scoring & Shooting Efficiency: Pts/36, FG/36, 3P%, eFG%, TS%

- Marshall: 16.3, 13.0, .416, .570, .591
- Bargnani: 17.6, 14.1, .409, .513, .559

Both shoot and score quite similar amounts, Donyell more efficiently due to his extremely high proportion of 3 point shooting.  Of note is that Bargnani is already a rather efficient scorer.

Rebounding: Off. Reb %, Def. Reb %, Tot. Reb %

- Marshall: 6.4%, 23.3%, 14.7%
- Bargnani: 3.4%, 16.4%, 10.0%

Donyell, better across the board.

Other: Ast %, TO %, BLK/36, STL/36

- Marshall: 8.4%, 6.2%, 1.0, 1.2
- Bargnani: 6.4%, 11.2%, 1.4, 0.5

Surprisingly, Donyell has a higher assist % (likely because of Andrea's tendency to shoot than pass and the old Raptors' system which emphasized swinging the ball around the 3pt line - not because of any superior passing skill).  He has a much lower turnover % which should occur he was primarily deployed as a spot up shooter compared with Bargnani occassionally catching the ball within the arc and being asked to create.  In the defensive stats, we see Marshall with quicker hands and Bargnani as the bigger shotblocking threat.

Anyone else shocked by this analysis?  The defensive statistics were to be expected I suppose but on the offensive end, really the only metrics that Andrea had a clear-cut advantage in were pure scoring!

Bigweeze goes on in his post to recommend ways for Andrea to improve his game this season, perhaps by even limiting his offensive role.  I think in all likelyhood we'll see Bargnani's scoring average increase again this season but hopefully this will be attributed to more effecient scoring, not simply jacking up more shots.

However what really got me thinking was this statement by bigweeze:

The similarities are striking between the two.  If Andrea manages to shore up his rebounding and defense, he should easily be able to provide what Donyell did that season, and even more if he makes a major leap.


I think most fans would rank Bargnani light years ahead of Marshall but the stats don't lie.  Right now a second-year Donyell is more valuable to this team, especially at the defensive end, then Andrea. 

The key really is Bargnani's ceiling, one that appears to be much higher than Marshall's.  Andrea not only needs to step up on the rebounding and defensive fronts, but also in terms of the manner in which he goes about scoring.  As many bloggers have pointed out over Bargs' career, for someone who was advertised as being such a deadly offensive threat, he just wasn't that great a shooter until his final few months last season.

From bigweeze:

Becoming more efficient offensively is our ticket to becoming an elite offense.  This means getting all 5 players on the court taking shots that they can drain with regularity, whether they are dunks, layups, free throws, or 3 pointers. 

Again, totally agree.

As Chris Black recently pointed out, it's highly doubtful that this club is going to be locking anyone down defensively which makes it all the more important for them to become one, if not the, most efficient offensive team in the league.  Orlando ran such a club last year, the caveat of course being that they were indeed one of the best defensive teams in the league.  But for a team without much of an offensively skilled low-post presence (I'm not counting Howard's put-back dunks or um..."hook shots") or slasher (Hedo was probably the closest thing) , they made opponents pay time and time again with their barrage of shooters and excellent spacing.

It's imperative that the Raptors do that this year and Andrea Bargnani has to be a big piece of that puzzle.