Phil Jackson rips Andrea Bargnani: “AB was and still is a big tease”

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Throughout his first full season as president of the Knicks, Phil Jackson gave ESPN.com’s Charley Rosen significant behind-the-scenes access and insight to his thought process, which has culminated in an after-the-fact series of pieces telling the story of the season from Jackson’s perspective. The latest of these was released on Monday, and it featured Jackson’s final assessment of every player on the roster. He had high praise for the likes of Langston Galloway and Lance Thomas.

Andrea Bargnani, on the other hand, didn’t get such a good report card:

“AB was and still is a big tease. When he was injured he refused to do simple non-contact activities like dummy our offense in practice. He seemed to be a malingerer and this had a bad effect on the team, and also on the way the Knicks fans reacted to him. When he was on the court, he had a hard time staying intense, didn’t hustle back in offense-to-defense transition, wasn’t active enough in defending screen-rolls. Still, his offense is perfectly suited to the triangle because he really doesn’t have to work very hard to get shots. He’s another guy we renounced, but whether we can agree on financial terms for his return, or he winds up someplace else, AB will always be somewhat of an enigma.”

Obviously, Jackson made these assessments before free agency played out, and the Knicks didn’t re-sign Bargnani. He’s across town in Brooklyn now. It’s not a surprise to learn that Jackson didn’t think very highly of Bargnani, who has underperformed throughout his career. Before Jackson got to New York, the Knicks gave up a lot to get Bargnani, and the future picks they surrendered have hamstrung his ability to make the team better. All for a trade that was mocked at the time and a player that the Knicks made no effort to re-sign.

It’s hard to imagine too many Knicks fans disagreeing with Jackson’s assessment of Bargnani.