via NY Post
Andrea Bargnani has become a laughing stock in the NBA. A profile of a draft bust.
Toronto actually celebrated his trade, and the Knicks are the butt of jokes again.
However, there’s a serious warning by Bargnani’s Italian coach.
per NY Post:
Andrea Bargnani is a new man. At least for Team Italy.
The Knicks’ new 7-footer may get his first chance to show how much he has changed starting Wednesday in an three-day exhibition tournament in Trentino.
Though Bargnani has had a 102-degree fever the past two days and is questionable for the opener vs. Georgia, he has shown the Italian coaching staff he is a different person and player than he was during his ill-fated stint with the national team two years ago. Team Italy began training camp July 24 prepping for next month’s European Championships..’
“I think he’s more mature,” Team Italy’s associate coach Mario Fioretti told The Post. “He knows better how we need to play at a certain level for European basketball. He’s more aware of what he needs to do and is more wise. He’s more helpful this summer than that last summer , is my feeling.’’
The Knicks hope Bargnani is more helpful this season than he was the last couple of years with the Raptors.
Bargnani will get to face the music early and prove something to the Toronto fans: According to a Raptors source, the Knicks will visit AirCanada Centre for a preseason game in October.
“I am 100 percent sure next year is going to be his year,’’ Fioretti said. “He’s so happy about his new situation. He’s really happy to be in New York. Not anything against Toronto. The expectations are still there. He’s ready to take the challenge.”
Fioretti is more concerned with how Bargnani looks Sept. 4 when the European Championships commence in Slovenia. In the last European Championships, in 2011, Italy was bounced out in the first round and Bargnani wasn’t in the best shape.
“He was serious two years ago, but didn’t realize how hard it was to play at this level in Europe — now he realizes,’’ Fioretti said. “He really knows what we need from him, how he can be helpful on the floor. He got more aware in creating ball movement, player movement, being quicker setting picks, rolling, popping outside. I don’t think he was as good [in 2011].’’
Bargnani is coming off his worst NBA season, reduced to 35 games because of a torn ligament in his right elbow and becoming the scapegoat for the fans. But the former No. 1 overall pick still has a 15.2-point career scoring average, and is a certifiable inside-outside threat.
“My feeling is he already is an NBA star, he needed a different situation,” said Fioretti, a longtime coach for Olympio Milano. “The only thing he needs is a club where he can express himself.”
Much like it helped Carmelo Anthony to play in the Olympics last summer, there’s hope Bargnani will be sharper than his teammmates once Knicks training camp starts Oct. 1 because of the Team Italy tuneup.
“It’s 100 percent it will help him for next year,’’ Fioretti said. “I think he came in in shape and put himself in position to take this challenge.”
A Toronto source said one of Bargnani’s problems is he is not a good locker-room guy and can be aloof with teammates.
“He’s a quiet guy, but my feelings is he’s going harder in practices and is a leader by example,” Fioretti said. “Sometimes leader are loud, sometimes a leader works hard. You don’t have to always be the loud guy to carry the load