Time to celebrate Toronto, Andrea Bargnani is back.
Okay, maybe not celebrate. But if the Raptors have any chance of trading him at the deadline — and there isn’t that much of a chance, people have seen him play — they need to get him on the court and remind teams of what Bargnani can do.
So it’s good news that Bargnani will be back Wednesday night for the Raptors as they take on the Celtics, the return confirmed in a tweet by Ryan Wolstat of the Toronto Sun.
Bargnani went down Dec. 10 with a torn ligament in his right elbow. The Raptors were 4-18 when he got injured and have gone 13-13 in his absence. Draw your own conclusions, although they are pretty obvious. While there were scheduling and other factors in there, the fact is Bargnani was scoring 16 points a night but needing 15.2 shots a game to get there — 39.8% percent shooting overall and 31.9% from three. His PER this season is 12.4. He was not good.
Casey is selling that Bargnani will space the floor creating slashing lanes for Rudy Gay and DeMar DeRozan. Sure it will.
The Raptors would love to move him at the trade deadline and are willing to take a rack of shootaround basketballs, some ankle tape and whatever else you have for him. But to move him they are going to have to play him.
If Bargnani is not moved by the deadline it will be interesting to see what coach Dwane Casey does with him. But we are not there.
Khris Middleton has more expectations and more pressure on him after a breakout season in Milwaukee, followed by him getting him PAID this summer.
Well, he looked pretty good on this play against the Bulls, making the steal then throwing down despite Jimmy Butler‘s efforts to stop him.
Middleton finished with 10 points on 5-of-7 shooting for the Bucks. However, Butler had the last laugh as he went off for 23 points on 12 shots and led the Bulls to the (meaningless) preseason win.
Paul George‘s first experience starting as a power forward was going up against Anthony Davis — not just one of the best power forwards in the game, one of the handful of best players in the game period. That didn’t go well for George, and he wasn’t happy about it.
His second experience was in another preseason game Tuesday, going up against the Pistons and their four, Ersan İlyasova. He’s not quite as intimidating.
George scored 20 points on 7-of-8 shooting, 4-of-5 on threes — and that was just the first quarter (you can see it all in the video above).
As we have said before, George at the four is not a bad call by the Pacers, but some of that depends on the matchup. On the nights the Pacers face Davis or Blake Griffin or LaMarcus Aldridge or Zach Randolph (or a handful of others) the Pacers’ coaching staff is going to have to adjust. But there are a lot of nights where George at the four is going to force the other team to adjust, and that will play into the Pacers’ hands.