When the Knicks went out and traded for Andrea Bargnani, it was a head-scratcher for plenty of New York fans.
Bargnani has a reputation of being a frail bust during his time in Toronto, a former number one overall draft pick who clung to the figurative neck of the Raptors franchise like an albatross for the past seven seasons.
But at least one prominent member of the Knicks has a level of excitement about the deal, and believes that the trade for Bargnani will be a positive one for the New York franchise.
From Marcus Henry of Newsday:
Anthony lamented losing key teammates from last season’s 54-28 squad, but said getting Bargnani was a “steal” and is convinced the Knicks will be better.
“I hate to lose [Steve] Novak and [Marcus] Camby, but when you get someone like [Bargnani] in return, it’s kind of a win-win situation.”
The 7-foot forward, a No. 1 overall pick of the Toronto Raptors in 2006, averaged 12.7 points and 3.7 rebounds last season. It was his lowest point total since he averaged 10.2 points per game in 2007-08.
“Hopefully, Bargnani will want to come in and prove something, come in with a chip on his shoulder and be ready to rock,” Anthony said.
Knicks head coach Mike Woodson similarly sang Bargnani’s praises at Summer League in Las Vegas.
“I’ve got to get him up to speed defensively, but just like Melo’s a nightmare for people at the four, [Bargnani is] a nightmare for players at the four and five,” Woodson said. “I’ve just got to get him in and get him acclimated to what we’re doing, and get him comfortable — that’s the key with him. I’ve got to get him back to feeling good about himself. I think he’s an excellent ballplayer.”
Bargnani’s shooting percentages are lower than they should be for a player that’s supposedly a specialty shooter, and his defense has been historically below average. Perhaps a change of scenery will benefit that player who was once believed to be talented enough to deserve to be taken number one overall in the 2006 NBA draft, but despite Anthony’s support, he’ll need to prove himself fairly quickly to shake his reputation under the New York media spotlight.