The centre who plays like he’s 8 inches shorter


Almost two years ago, Dre and I wrote a post about Andrea Bargnani’s inability to outrebound shooting guards. For those of you who are too lazy to click on the link, in the 2010-11 season, Bargnani was outrebounded by Dwayne Wade, Kobe Bryant, Thabo Sefolosha, J.R. Smith, Josh Childress, and Alonzo Gee. Each of these players also managed to shoot more efficiently than Bargnani, meaning that it was feasible that these six shooting guards would make a better centre than Bargnani.

Well, fast forward to this year. A tweet by Eric Koreen reminded me to investigate Bargnani’s statsistics now that his season is over. I know it’s a shock, but he still can’t rebound, and he’s still one of the league’s least productive players. But he’s actually managed to become worse at rebounding and shooting! We actually have to lower the bar because too many guards — 29 — have outrebounded Bargnani this year.

So let’s make it easier on Bargs. Now I’m only going to compare him to players who are 6’4″ or shorter and who have a better True Shooting percentage (TS%). There are 9 players who meet these requirements this season:

Player Height TRB/48 TS% WP48* Wins*
Tony Allen 6-4 8.2 49.5% 0.176 3.7
Reggie Jackson 6-3 8.0 52.9% 0.134 2.8
Jason Kidd 6-4 7.6 54.2% 0.269 5.6
Kyle Lowry 6-0 7.5 55.0% 0.221 4.6
Russell Westbrook 6-3 7.3 53.1% 0.177 3.7
Patrick Beverley 6-1 7.2 55.0% 0.263 5.5
Rajon Rondo 6-1 7.2 51.6% 0.227 4.7
Eric Bledsoe 6-1 6.9 51.8% 0.196 4.1
Dwyane Wade 6-4 6.9 57.3% 0.225 4.7
Andrea Bargnani 7-0 6.1 48.3% -0.009 -0.2

*Note: each player’s WP48 was calculated as a SG; wins are calculated as if each player played Bargnani’s 2012-13 minutes (1003).

As you can see, Bargnani does not compare very favorably with this group. Most of the players are point guards, and one of them is a 39 year old point guard! Dare we go further? Of course! Like a spectacular car crash, I have a perverse interest in this and can’t stop myself from looking. What else can we say about Bargnani?

He’s the only 7-footer on this list of this season’s 10 worst rebounding players 6’9″ or taller:

Player Height TRB/48
Steve Novak 6-10 4.6
Corey Brewer 6-9 5.6
Andrea Bargnani 7-0 6.1
Jeff Green 6-9 6.6
Tayshaun Prince 6-9 6.8
Chris Copeland 6-9 7
Matt Bonner 6-10 7.1
Chandler Parsons 6-9 7.1
Victor Claver 6-9 7.3
Mike Dunleavy 6-9 7.3

Note that most of these players are 6’9″ and play small forward, and Bargnani ranks third.

Can we top that? Of course we can! From the 1979-80 season to the 2012-13 season, Bargnani has the fourth worst career rebounding rate of any 7-footer. Here are the “top” 10 players from that list:

Player Height TRB/48
Brad Sellers 7-0 7.1
John Edwards 7-0 7.4
Nikoloz Tskitishvili 7-0 7.6
Andrea Bargnani 7-0 7.7
Donatas Motiejunas 7-0 7.9
Ryan Hollins 7-0 8.6
Jason Collins 7-0 8.7
Daniel Santiago 7-1 8.8
Wang Zhizhi 7-0 8.8
Mark Blount 7-0 9.6

Most of the players on that list bounced around and didn’t last very long in the league. Bargnani is the only player with significant minutes played to stay with one franchise for an extended period of time. You have to go all the way down to #31 (Brook Lopez) to find another player who’s come close.

This is why the Raptors have struggled to find any kind of success over the last several seasons: every time they bring Bargnani out as a centre or power forward, they are essentially trading a big man for an inefficient shooting guard. Since power forward and centre are the most productive positions, and shooting guard is the least productive position, this is quite difficult to overcome. Unsurprisingly, the Raptors have won less than 43% of their games since Bargnani entered the league. Trading away productive players, drafting and trading for inefficient scorers, and then signing those inefficient scorers to ridiculously large contracts doesn’t help either, but Toronto has to learn to crawl before it can run.

– Devin

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