Getting to know Andrea Bargnani
The Knicks have agreed to a trade that would send Toronto Raptors forward Andrea Bargnani to New York. Here is a look at the newest member of the Knicks.
Andrea Bargnani was born and raised in Rome. He is one of four players in the NBA born in Italy along with Marco Bellinelli, Reggie Jackson, and former Knick Danilo Gallinari. Bargnani should feel at home in New York City, home to the largest Italian American population in America.
Bargnani began playing basketball professionally at age 17 with Stella Azzurra Roma in Italy’s Serie B2 division in 2002. A year later he reached Italy’s top division, Lega A, when he signed with Benetton Treviso.
While playing with Treviso, Bargnani was given the nickname “Il Mago” by team captain Riccardo Pittis who liked the way it sounded. In English, “Il Mago” translates to “The Magician.”
Bargnani was selected by the Toronto Raptors with the first overall pick in 2006. He was the first European player to be selected first overall and just the sixth foreign born player chosen with the first pick. He was also the first Italian player ever selected in the first round.
Leading up to the 2006 NBA Draft, Bargnani drew comparisons to former MVP Dirk Nowitzki for his size, shooting prowess and ball-handling skills. While he has not reached those expectations, Bargnani continues to show a style of play similar to the 2011 Finals MVP.
In 2006 Andrea Bargnani became the first Italian player to start an NBA game in 30 years. The last Italian player to do so was former Knicks head coach Mike D’Antoni with the Kansas City-Omaha Kings. D’Antoni was born in the United States and holds American and Italian dual citizenship.
TOP PICKS WITH THE KNICKS
Bargnani will be the fourth first overall pick to play with the Knicks. He joins Patrick Ewing, Larry Johnson, and Kenyon Martin as former top picks who have worn the Knicks’ colors.
With Andrea Bargnani the Knicks can expect scoring but not much else. Despite his seven foot frame, Bargnani has struggled with rebounding and defense. Last season he became the first seven footer to average more than 28 minutes per game and less than four rebounds. However, he was hindered last season by injuries.
BREAK OUT SEASON
In 2010, Bargnani had his best season as a pro. In his first season without Chris Bosh, Bargnani took over as the teams top player. He started 66 games, all at center, and averaged 21.4 points and 5.2 rebounds and shot 34.5 percent from three-point range.