I’m absolutely not here to celebrate Andrea Bargnani getting hurt. He took a bad two nights ago (on a badly missed dunk attempt) and is lucky he wasn’t more seriously injured. But I couldn’t resist a quick comment on something Mike Francesa said yesterday about Bargnani’s impending absence from the lineup: “another injury, another problem…we’re going to go down more before we go up.”
It really can’t be said emphatically enough – Bargnani is a terrible player, one of the very worst in the NBA. Compared to the average power forward, he’s subpar when it comes to rebounding (by a lot), assists (by a lot) and true shooting percentage (driven to a significant degree by what a terrible 3-point shooter he is and his refusal to accept that fact). There is no phase of the game in which he’s more than slightly better than average and several in which he’s much worse. He will make $23 million between this year and next. His signing this off-season was one of the very worst personnel decisions in the NBA. All of which begs the question – why would someone like Mike Francesa assume that losing Bargnani was bad for the Knicks? Isn’t it possible that teams really do make horrible decisions about talent, such that losing players they were badly wrong about might actually help the team? It’s not as if the Knicks have Karl Malone coming off the bench. But all of the Knicks’ options to replace Bargnani’s minutes – Amar’e, KMart, even Jeremy Tyler are better and could scarcely be worse.
Just because the Knicks have professional management making a lot of money to construct a roster and build a championship team around ‘Melo (who, strikingly, is actually having one of his best seasons while getting criticized more because his team is *terrible,*), it doesn’t follow that they actually have any idea what they’re doing. Letting go of that assumption would make it easier to see that losing a player the Knicks coveted is actually good for them.
Though, to be clear, they’ll still stink.
If you’re down on Francesa, by the way, it’s not just him. The New York Times’ coverage asserted that “Bargnani’s injury was another tough break for the Knicks” and that the team’s situation “just got worse.”