He was dubbed as the “Rising star” in the Euroleague and the Toronto Raptors never had second thoughts in drafting Andrea Bargnani as their no.1 overall pick in 2006. It must have been something magical when Andrea faced his future team in a preseason game way back in 2003 after all he was also nicknamed “Il Mago” (the Magician). He can shoot the ball very well in the perimeter and has good mobility and ball handling skills similar to another European standout Dirk Nowitzki who played the same position as Bargnani and stands exactly the same at 7 flat. The Raptors believed Andrea would be a good complimentary player to their franchise superstar Chris Bosh although they could have chosen a much known or tested player in the draft like All star Brandon Roy, Rudy Gay, LaMarcus Aldridge and Rajon Rondo. The Raptors are now battling out for the 8th seed on the upcoming playoffs with only one game ahead of Chicago but even if they do make it to the last seed in the Eastern conference they are given a diminutive chance in dethroning the Cleveland Cavaliers especially now that Chris Bosh is out of the lineup after suffering from a broken nose courtesy of Antawn Jamison’s unintentional elbow on Bosh face. To make matters worse Hedo Turkoglo is out because of a nasal contusion on their 115-104 loss to Boston last Wednesday. They are now on a 3 game skid and the Raptors are definitely looking for that single win to simply stop the bleeding.
Andrea’s time would definitely be now. The Raptors could lose Bosh to free agency and Hedo’s 53 million contract came as a disappointment so this would be his time to step-up because after losing 3 games straight they desperately needed the guy they have been envisioned to be since 2003. There were no sudden expectations because Andrea had a full 4 years to develop. This is the time Robin step out of Batman’s shadow. Andrea at age 24 can be the future franchise player of Toronto and step one starts now. I don’t know how he does it but I guess “Il Mago” will have to dig deep down to his bag of tricks.