Nets: What Will Bargnani’s Role Be?


Apr 5, 2015; New York, NY, USA; New York Knicks center Andrea Bargnani (77) drives to the basket defended by Philadelphia 76ers center Nerlens Noel (4) during the second half at Madison Square Garden. The Knicks defeated the 76ers 101 – 91. Mandatory Credit: Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports

With the Nets looking to play small ball this year, newly acquired center Andrea Bargnani looks to be a perfect fit for the offense. With his strong outside shooting and underrated post skills, Bargnani could be a huge lift off the bench for the Nets this season.

One of the things that Nets starting PG Jarrett Jack does well is lead the fast break. Jack has improved the pace of every offense he has been a part of, and he will look to do that again. That being said, Bargnani is a perfect fit for the Nets in that regard. At 7’0” 250 lbs, Bargnani has the size to shoot over anyone in the league. He will be a perfect trailer on the breaks, because he can spot up from three and shoot at a high percentage. Bargnani’s ability to be a catch and shoot type of player will make the Nets’ fast paced offense much more dynamic. If he can help them spread the floor when pushing the ball, the offense will be hard to stop in transition.

Last season, the Nets had Mason Plumlee as the backup to Brook Lopez. Plumlee is basically the same type of player as Lopez, but no where near as talented. Plumlee is a solid interior defender and above average rebounder, but he does not add any different elements to the offense other than catching the ball on the inside and finishing at the rim. Now that the Nets have Bargnani, they have some that they can rely on to come off the bench and add a new element to the game: a stretch five. The league has been taken by storm by big men who can shoot, and Bargnani is as good a shooter as any other seven footer in the league. The Nets can utilize Bargnani’s size to spread the floor in ways that they could not if they still had Plumlee as the backup to Lopez.

Despite Bargnani’s offensive talents, he will still be a liability on defense and on the boards. Bargnani has never been a good rebounder in his career, and he tends to get outmuscled inside by other centers and power forwards. He also struggles on defense, as stronger players constantly overwhelm him. He will have to at least hold his own against other centers, because if he cannot be a rim protected, the Nets will struggled without Lopez in the lineup.

If Bargnani can light up the scoreboard this season the way he has proven he can in the past, his offensive prowess will outweigh his defensive issues. Coming off the bench, he will not be asked to defend top players, and other bench players will struggle to guard him. Bargnani has always been asked to start, but maybe, in Brooklyn, he will finally find his niche as an energetic, talented bench scorer.

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