Wednesday July 15 2009 – 11:34am Eastern (Toronto, ON)

Rebounding will be one of the many keys for the Raptors this season. And one of the most important players in that category with be Andrea Bargnani.

Bargnani tallied 4.4 defensive rebounds per game last season (5.3 REB overall). That put him in the Top 70 in the league.

Those defensive rebounding numbers were more than:

Nick Collison
Tayshaun Prince *
Ron Artest *
Kobe Bryant *
Greg Oden
Vince Carter *
Michael Beasley
Ben Wallace
Jeff Foster
Chris Anderson
Shane Battier *
Josh Howard *
Boris Diaw *
Richard Jefferson *
Tracy McGrady *
Al Thornton *
Ronny Turiaf
Travis Outlaw *

( * Bargnani’s Rebounds Per 48 Minutes average (8.1) was more than these players as well )

Yes, I know Bargnani is a PF/C so his numbers should naturally be higher than guards like Bryant, Carter, Jefferson, etc.

I’m merely pointing out the kind of company he shares in the NBA – with others at his position and with “star” players that log heavy minutes and serious court time. Plus, Andrea isn’t exactly your “traditional” big man – in terms of always being under the hoop (especially on the offensive end).  His (and the Raptors overall) is a different style that will likely always have some kind of an impact on his rebounding totals.

But there’s no denying that the big Italian must improve on the glass and bring more to the Raps in that category. Rebounding can’t solely fall on the shoulders of Chris Bosh.

Of course … the additions of Reggie Evans and Hedo Turkoglu should help as well … along with the possible addition of Rasho Nesterovic too.

E. Smith

31 Responses to “Bargnani On The Boards”
  1. 1.

    Eric, what’s your take on raptors aquiring a young big man that has a ton of potential, possibly a guy like Hamed Haddadi? It seems like he hasnt got a fair chance to show what he has to offer in Memphis and he is a BIG body with a soft touch and a ton of potential.

    - Behzad
  2. 2.

    E, Raps are showing interest in Ike Diogu. Is he an option if Rasho does not come on board as another big that can bang and grab some boards. If Rasho is in their plans, does this mean Diagu is not an option? Any updates on Delfino?

    - Brian Gerstein
  3. 3.

    short of moving the big turk to the 2 and starting evans, i think the raps are destined to be in the bottom 5 in the league for rebounding…

    - christian
  4. 4.

    You should be looking at his individual rebound ‘rate’ and the overall rebound rating of the team (pace adjusted) to get a good idea of how Bargnani holds up.

    Basketball is a game of possessions, afterall. Not a game of ‘minutes’.

    Bargnani really is as bad as he looks (One of the worst inch for inch rebounders of all time). Playing him with the big Turk for extended minutes pretty much assures this team to be god awful on the boards, most especially the offensive boards. Nice foresight, Colangelo.

    - Jim
  5. 5.

    Do teams/players that rebound well also have a high number of loose ball fouls? I’m thinking of how Boston was a leader in defensive 3 second violations last year yet strong in defense overall – i.e. do we need to teach players not to be fearful of fouls/violations as a tradeoff in learning to have a nose for the ball over the long term?

    - eltee
  6. 6.

    Eric, how do you figure Hedo will help with rebounding? He’s taking Marion’s spot on the roster who is a far superior @ rebounding. It would seem that the first unit will be worse on the boards without question. Weak blog.

    - rugman
  7. 7.

    Are you seriously trying to justify Bargnani’s horrible rebounding by comparing him to a bunch of shooting guards, small forwards and back-up centers? Seriously? Wow, he has better rebounding per 48 minutes than all of the shooting guards and small forwards there! The rest of the players that you listed are bench players that receive limited playing time. I don’t care if Bargnani he’s a shooting center, he still shouldn’t be 202nd in rebounds per 48. That’s just atrocious for any starting center. To me, that should be his highest priority, improving his rebounding I mean.

    - Anonymous
  8. 8.

    that gives me hope. thanks E. He also was getting even better rebounding near the end of the year, if he can get 7-8 boards a game that is good enough for me.

    - Sean
  9. 9.

    Simply put, he must have an avg. of 7-8 boards a night in order for the Raps to be a decent rebounding team (which, once again I don’t believe they will be next season…but who knows?)

    - Mr. T
  10. 10.

    Hold up …

    To those that have written here and/or emailed me …

    I said, to summarize:

    (1) … Bargnani’s rebounding totals are affected by the way he plays / his role in the offence especially … (2)… Thus, his rebounding totals will always be a bit lower than most ‘traditional’ big men … (3) … HOWEVER, in spite of that, he has to step it up and do a bit more on the glass … (4) … Buuut he will have more help this year with Evans, Turkoglu (not a GREAT rebounder, but not a stiff either) and the possible addition of Rasho Nesterovic

    So, what’s wrong with that? Where is it that I’m apologizing for Bargnani or making excuses? Where is the flaw in my statements?

    He needs to do more.

    But you have to be realistic about how he plays; he’ll likely never be a guy that average 8 or 9 boards per game. But can he get his 5.3 rebounds-per-game last year up to 6 or even 7? That’d be nice. Again, he has to do more.

    (FYI – there were only 21 players in the league last year that average more than 8.0 rebounds per game. Food for thought).

    So having said all of that, why am I getting the critical emails and tweets from people? What’s so wrong with what I wrote?

    - E. Smith
  11. 11.

    One small thing to consider – the Raptors were one of the bottom end teams in defensive FG% (something they need to fix obv) – but this does amount to perhaps a 1/2 less defensive rebounds a game.
    While not were we would like him to be, Bargs made significant strides defensively last season and I would expect his boards to notch up a bit this coming one. (if Evans doesn’t eat them all while on the floor).

    - Tom L
  12. 12.

    should read “… 1/2 DOZEN less rebounds….”

    - Tom L
  13. 13.

    I usually like your blog and your insights, but man wtf is this?
    Why are you comparing the defensive rebound rate of a 7 foot center to shooting guards? The last time I checked, Bargnani only hangs out at the 3pt line on offense, not on defense. If you want to excuse his brutal ORB% based on his role in the offense, I would agree with your analysis, but to compare him at the defensive end on the glass to a bunch of guys 6’6″ who have to cover 3pt shooters may be the most retarded analysis I’ve ever seen. In the words of Mark Jackson – YOU’RE BETTER THAN THAT ERIC SMITH.

    But I guess if Jose gets torched this year we can always rotate over Bargs to guard the other teams PG …. after all he’s a different kind of “big” right?

    Please go to and do a sort for DRB% and guys 6’11″ or taller in the NBA in the post 3pt line era. You will be amazed to see the company Bargnani keeps.

    Also feel free to compare his DRB% and DRebs/48 vs other “perimeter bigs” like Dirk, Troy Murphy, LMA, Ryan Anderson, Memo, ‘Sheed, etc. Those guys all have weak ORB% (which is expected since they hang out at the 3pt line a lot of the time) however they all step it up big time as defensive rebounders (most have a DRB > 20%)

    Also: Defensive rebounding is a game of diminishing returns (ie if you took the 5 best rebounders in the league they’re not all still going to average 10 boards a game, there’s only 1 ball and only so many possessions). So maybe having an above average SF and SG rebounder helps the team, but it won’t drive Bargs stats up — if anything it’ll make them worse.

    - Mike
  14. 14.

    Eric, I always thought that you were better than this. What exactly does this prove? The list really means and proves nothing. It just says that if you get enough court time, rebounds are bound to fall into your lap every so often.

    Now if we actually want to get serious, put Bargs rebounding rate against players that play his position (C/PF), adjust for pace and minutes played and I think that you’ll quickly find out that the last 3 seasons Bargs has been as bad as it appears on the surface in terms of rebounding the basketball. In fact, he’s in the bottom 3 of all big men in the entire league all 3 seasons.

    I’m hopeful that he’ll improve but at this point, rebounding is a huge negative on Barg’s resume.

    - bc
  15. 15.

    Barganani should aim for 7 rebounds this season.

    I predicting right now he will be a


    points, rebounds, assists and block next season

    - Raps Fan
  16. 16.

    Yet again, I think some of you didn’t read what I wrote – and you certainly didn’t read my follow-up in this “comments” section.


    Furthermore, while we all want him to bring more RE: rebounding (on both ends), keep in mind that he went from 3.9 REB in his rookie season … to 3.7 REB in year two (the season he struggled through, big time) … to 5.3 REB last year. So the bar has been set. He went up over a board and a half from year 2 to year 3 and if the does even HALF of that he should be coming in around 6 to 6.5 next year … and I’d be fine with that. You’ve gotta be realistic; it’s not like he’s going to jump from 5.3 REB to 8.0 or more in one season. That’d be RAAARE.

    - E. Smith
  17. 17.

    The thing that blows my mind is that Bargnani was drafted first overall by need. We needed size and strength however, most people know that when you draft a big out of Europe you are going to get a big that likes to play a perimetre game and minima defense. For the life of me I can’t understand Why Colangelo thought that he can draft a seven footer that loves the three point line, and thought down the road the coaching staff would turn him into a banger. If anyone including Colangelo himself can show me where a guy came out of the draft as a shooter and turned into a low post threat on both ends I’ll be blown away. By the way Eric I agree with the majority of posts, I think the list of players you posted is irrelevant.

    - Thomas
  18. 18.

    great blog E, lol.

    - TomGfromBrampton
  19. 19.

    Welcome to Doug Smith’s world Eric (he’s been called out on a number of occasions). Some Raps bloggers can be really rude if you’ve committed what they perceive as the greatest crime of the century. I think you explained yourself rather well regarding Bargnani’s limitations on the boards and what he needs to concentrate on to improve, but apprently you’ve struck a nerve. What also puzzles me is that some Raptors fans can’t seem to let go of anything. Its three years later, and people (i.e. Thomas) are still complaining about drafting Bargnani. Get over it already. He’s a quality NBA player with a unique skill set. We’re lucky to have him locked up.

    - Michel G
  20. 20.

    How come English has not seen the floor and how come your not in Vegas?

    - Rob from brantford
  21. 21.

    Eric i agree with you in terms of if Bargs improves to aroud 6.5 to 7.0 boards a game and we also get Rasho to laong with CB4 and evns then i think we will be improved from last year not a whole imporoved but in the right direction but for me this year in reboubding Demar could dark horse for raps with his amazing vertical leap

    - BBALL
  22. 22.

    Bargnani made the No-Defence 2nd team .. No question he is soft ..

    But he is young and developing .. he may get tougher..
    Possibly Evans willl give him some advice and help..
    Iavaroni too might be able to work with him . Certainly the coaches know Barg is BC’s fair-haired boy and deserves special treatment to prove BC didn’t blow the #1 draft pick ..

    The Fan were ripping Sam Mitchell this morning .. It was sad to hear . .They claimed Sam was not upset by his firing because he didn’t challenge it in the media .. Maybe that was a condition of his buyout ?

    Sam was fired because BC sold his bosses on an inflated view of that stiff O’Neal .. Also BC felt Sam was not using his #1 pick Barg correctly ..
    Of course, when the BC-Triano coaching tandem went 16-36 after Sam was fired and BC had to unload the headcase O’Neal , BC was exposed .. The blunders were the GM’s, not Sam’s .

    Also the Sam Mitchell segment on the FAN was a classic ..enjoyable and unique .

    No need to beat on Sam when he’s not around to defend himself ..

    - Chas
  23. 23.

    You couldn’t be more wrong Chas. I was on the air with Gord Stellick this morning — WE were the ones talking about Sam Mitchell. And at no point did we rip him.

    We both talked about how we liked Sam and thought he was a good coach and an entertaining guy. But he was dismissed in an attempt to ignite the team and that didn’t end up working.

    Sorry for making you the target here, but this is what bothers me at times about some listeners and readers: You don’t listen. You don’t read.

    Sam was not ripped.

    And Bargnani was not defended in this blog (I said he had to improve on the glass).

    Folks need to read or hear the facts and not misconstrue or make up their own storylines or conclusions.

    - E. Smith
  24. 24.

    Raptor’s rebounding facts and fiction, wait and see.

    1. Bargnani as a starting C averaged 6 boards/game.
    He recognizes, from his comments that he needs to improve his game in the post, defending, and rebouding. I expect he will continue to improve.

    2. Rap’s as a team last year averaged 1.5 less rebounds per game than their NBA opponents that they played, an insignificent amount.

    3. Raptors have 4 players left from the team that started the season last year, CB, AB, JC, and Ukic. Any comments about rebounding for this team, this coming year, are useless conjecture, we just have to wait and see.

    4. As well as the above the Rap’s have a completely new, and differnt, coaching staff, that as well, no one knows how well the players will respond to them, again we will wait and see.

    - Johnn19
  25. 25.

    Hey E,

    How would he compare with Muggsy Bogues?

    - Yama
  26. 26.

    You couldn’t be more wrong Eric.

    “Sleep deprivation can adversely affect brain function”

    Your post misrepresents the comments made about Sam this morning.
    It was suggested Sam was affected by his big contract .How is that not a rip?
    It was suggested Sam was not upset by his firing. He has said he was upset by his firing in an interview in the Minneapolis Tribune.

    Why don’t you post a transcript of the Sam Mitchell segment ?
    Let’s see who is more wrong.

    No one said you defended Bargnani . What was posted was BC is giving him special treatment because he selected him #1.
    Imo Sam didn’t follow BC’s orders, and Triano agreed to.

    Sincerely though,and far more importantly, congratulations to you and your wife on the birth of your child.

    - Chas
  27. 27.

    Thanks for the congrats Chas.

    But, no, again, that’s not the case.

    And transcripts don’t exist in radio.

    I didn’t “suggest” Sam wasn’t upset about his firing. I said flat-out he wasn’t upset. But that was at the exact moment of the firing. I was relaying the story of my personal 1 on 1 interaction with Mitchell in the lobby of the Denver hotel when he was fired and when I broke the story.

    I cannot speak for Gord, but he did say that Sam got paid and was happy with his big contract (who wouldn’t be) but he did not say that Sam started half-assing his job after that or started mailing it in. He simply said that he knew he got lucky (for lack of a better term) by being able to cash in on a sweet deal on the heels of a coach of the year award.

    And I did say – on the air – that Bargnani’s relationship with Mitchell … and the fact that he flourished and oozed more confidence under Triano – was a factor.

    Sleep deprivation has nothing to do with anything here. I know what I said … and I just re-wrote it above.

    Thanks again for the congrats though Chas.

    - E. Smith
  28. 28.

    let me start by saying its easy to see why ppl are on u eric for comparing bargnani’s reb. totals to guards… it doesn’t make much sense but u also have been very clear in saying that he needs to improve that aspect of his game…

    now for eric/raptors fans i have a family friend that moved down to atl. a few yrs back and has the chance over the past couple of years get to know s. mitchell and has let me know that he doesn’t think to highly of b. colangelo and his “spoiled kid” attitude and that they didn’t agree on the way a team should approach the game… along with a difference in opinion from who to select with the number one pick that he was overruled by the two guys in upper management

    - clutch_k
  29. 29.

    As far an Bargnani is concerned, he won’t be the first NBA 7 footer to take a few years to fill out and develop. He’s really just a kid still and many take time to grow into their bodies, so to speak.

    What he really lacks right now is a bit of anger and nastiness, maybe a dose of confidence against other bigs.

    There was a game last year where he got tangled up with someone and a bit of NBA shove-dancing started. I hope we see more of that attitude from him; remind him he’s Italian…

    - Gary
  30. 30.

    i don’t know that many people have that big an issue with the arguments you’ve made, but where you lost me is where you found it even remotely significant to list guys like Vince Carter, Kobe Bryant, etc.

    that was absolutely meaningless, and even if you’re contending that you’re not an apologist, it’s hard to take you at your word when you’re trying to stick stats like that down our throat…regardless of how many disclaimers you put at the end of it…

    agree with your overall assessment, but that list got exactly the reaction it deserved…

    - Jay B
  31. 31.

    Based on the above comments, it’s very obvious Raptors fans have had enough of Bryan Colangelo. Regardless of whether or not the team improves this coming season, he has proven to be a complete waste of a lot of money, media attention and ridiculously stylish suits.

    I’ve been calling him out forever and I’m so relieved to see I wasn’t alone in my thoughts of this completely overpaid executive.

    In fact, Bryan Colangelo might be a PERFECT microcosm of the the plight of the world’s economy over the past year. A guy who is massively overpaid, has achieved very little, seems to be basking in his father’s glory, has a very arrogant manner towards his stakeholders…it goes on and on.

    It’s time this guy is shown the door…even if the team improves this year. His goodwill with the fans is at a historic low and I can’t see any way he wins back the respect of Raptors fans.

    - brento
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