The Toronto Raptors missed the playoffs for the fourth straight season this year.
But could things have been different with a healthy Andrea Bargnani?
In a weak Eastern Conference where it looked like the bottom three playoff teams were trying to avoid making the post season over the final month of the season, maybe the Raptors would have had a shot at eighth. It certainly didn't look like anyone would have stepped up to stop a concerted effort and many of the Raptors losses came at the end of games when Bargnani's offense could have made the difference.
While it's not out of the question that a healthy Bargs would have vaulted this team into eighth, I'm highly skeptical.
For one, I need to see more than a 13 game sample size to be confident that his "All-Star level play" would continue for an entire season. On top of this, I'm still not sold on Bargs being the difference between a playoff team and draft lottery fodder. His defensive improvements were encouraging, but he's still got work to do.
Add in the various other injuries the team had to deal with and I think we'd need to have truly seen a Dirk-esque Bargs in order to believe a playoff leap plausible. Especially when you consider the fact that the Eastern Conference's eighth place team, the Philadelphia 76ers had 35 wins, meaning the Raps would have needed another 12 or 13 to get to that spot.
In his best days Chris Bosh's "Wins Produced" mark was about 10 wins so I'm struggling to think that simply a healthy Bargs would have made up that 13 or so win difference.
But it's an interesting question, and one we'll likely delve into more in this coming off-season as we attempt to discern which version of Andrea Bargnani will show up next season.