In his illustrious NBA career, Carmelo Anthony has played with many talented scorers, but perhaps the best have been J.R. Smith and Allen Iverson. Iverson came to the Nuggets after his prime and J.R. Smith has been wildly inconsistent throughout his career. Neither player’s game complemented Anthony’s very well.
After 10 seasons, Andrea Bargnani could be the 2nd scorer Anthony has needed beside him.
The New York Knicks took a gamble on the 7 foot forward when they traded for him early in the offseason. The Knicks did not give up much for Bargnani, Marcus Camby and Steve Novak, although they did surrender a 2016 first round pick and two 2016 second round picks.
Bargnani’s last two seasons in Toronto have been far from stellar. Bargnani only played 66 games over the last two seasons due to injury. The Raptors were desperate to get rid of their former #1 overall pick. The Knicks traded for Bargnani in hopes that he could return to the form he displayed in the 2009-2010 and 2010-2011 seasons.
In the 2009-2010 season Bargnani shot 47 percent from the field, averaged 17.2 points per game, and grabbed 6.2 rebounds per game. The 2010-2011 season for Bargnani was also a success. Bargnani averaged 21.4 points per game, scoring a career high 41 points against the Knicks in Madison Square Garden.
A fresh start could be just what Bargnani needs to revive his game. He has been in a losing environment his entire career, and appeared to be disinterested in Toronto.
Bargnani could be an X-Factor for the Knicks on offense. Bargnani’s ability to shoot the three (36.1 percent for his career) will allow the Knicks to stretch the floor. Bargnani can drag post players out of the paint, allowing other players to break down the defense and get into the lane for easy baskets. Bargnani can also score from the mid range and post. He can force double teams leaving Knicks three point shooters open to knock down shots.
In addition to playing alongside Anthony, Bargnani could provide scoring when Anthony is on the bench during games. The Knicks sometimes struggled to score against better defensive teams last season while Anthony was on the bench. If Bargnani can score off the bench it will allow coach Mike Woodson to rest Anthony more during games. If Anthony is fresh he can do what he does best: close games in the fourth quarter.
Bargnani returned to basketball action yesterday after battling pneumonia during the past month. He participated with teammates in informal workouts and scrimmages at the Knicks’ practice facility. Knicks point guard Raymond Felton said, “That guy looked great in my opinion…that kind of made me excited as a point guard.”
Bargnani earned the nickname “IL Mago”, which means magician, from his playing days in Italy. If Bargnani still has a few tricks up his sleeve, the Knicks could be one of the elite offensive teams in the NBA.