The New York Knicks‘ center/power forward Andrea Bargnani came into the league through the first overall pick in the 2006 NBA Draft. He’s without a doubt a high ranked, if not the highest ranked, member of the NBA’s “Unintentional Comedy Hall of Fame.”
Let’s look back at the key moments/moves that made his arrival possible.
1. The ‘Serie A’ Career:
Without a college career in the United States, Bargnani came straight out of Europe. Italy to be precise.
During his Italian stint he played for the Stella Azzura Roma, a Serie B-2 team based out of his hometown Rome. He was then, after a year, picked up by the Benetton Treviso, a Serie A team that had few appearances in the Euroleague and was based out of the Italian city of Treviso.
After a superb 2006 season with Benetton Treviso, where he led them to the 2006 Italian Championship with 12 points, 5.6 rebounds, 1.3 blocks and 1.4 steals per game in 47 outings in the Serie A League, Bargnani decided to come over to the NBA through the 2006 NBA Draft.
Before coming over to the NBA, Bargnani was named:
- 2006 Euroleague Rising Star.
- 2006 Serie A Best Player Under 22.
2. The 2006 NBA Draft:
The 2006 NBA Draft featured an underachieving class (to say the least). The best players out of said draft class were Brandon Roy (sixth), Rudy Gay (eighth), J.J. Redick (11th), and Rajon Rondo (21st pick). Just four players of the 2006 draft have been picked up for at least one All-Star Game.
Yes, Bargnani was drafted 20 spots before Rondo.
The Toronto Raptors were clearly sold on Bargnani’s European accolades and rolled the dice on him with the first pick.
Thank you, Toronto.
3. NBA Career:
He came into the league as an accomplished Euroleague and Serie A center. A bright future awaited the 21-year-old Italian since he was about to play under three-year veteran Chris Bosh and two-year veteran Kris Humphries.
Bargnani immediately took over Chris Bosh’s rest minutes and didn’t disappoint at all. He averaged 25.1 minutes per game, 11.6 points per game, .468/.373/.824 shooting, 3.9 rebounds per game. He even had a way better season than two-year veteran replacement center Kris Humphries.
- Andrea Bargnani: 25.1 minutes per game, 11.6 points per game, .468/.373/.824 shooting, 3.9 rebounds per game.
- Kris Humphries: 11.2 minutes per game, 3.8 points per game, .470/.0/.671 shooting, 3.1 rebounds per game.
The reason by which the Raptors kept Bargnani as Bosh’s second fiddle instead of turning him into a backup center over Kris Humphries is yet to be known. The team eventually made Bargnani the starting center for the rest of his Toronto career.
On July 10, 2013, after seven solid seasons with the Toronto Raptors, Andrea Bargnani was acquired by the New York Knicks in a trade that shocked the NBA world.
I am thrilled to become a New York Knick and look forward to becoming a part of their storied franchise!!
— Andrea Bargnani (@AndreaBargnani) July 2, 2013
4. Andrea ‘Air’ Bargnani is born:
After a controversial and not-so-anticipated arrival to the Knicks, Bargnani’s trade was already being torn apart by the local media. Knicks fans, and NBA fans in general, didn’t really understand what the Knicks were trying to accomplish by bringing him on board.
Regardless, the Knicks had another surprise for us. After the trade went through, the Knicks reached an agreement with Bargnani and eventually signed him for two years and $23.6 million.
5. Overall Career Grade:
Bargnani, after keeping his numbers relatively the same (and improving some) during his first season as a Knick, has been a benchmark in a series of bad moves the team has made since they acquired Carmelo Anthony.
The problem with “Il Mago” is not whether or not he’s a good player, it’s what he is being paid to try and be one.