Tonight I'll be looking at the fourth most important thing to look out for in 2009-2010.
#4: Andrea Bargnani
I believe Bargnani holds to the keys to success for the Raptors in 2009-2010. Can the Raptors really afford to have their starting power forward to have another "slump"? While I'm happy Bargnani broke out of his shell last year, his shell still needs to break more. As much as I love the guy, he's still not playing up to his #1 overall pick. His game, while it has high points, still needs to develop into a complete package. Can this be achieved? Absolutely. But his defense needs work. His rebounding needs work. He still makes stupid mistakes. At the end of the day, Bargnani can only control what Bargnani does.
Bargnani must put it altogether by October 28. Toronto can't wait until December like last year to see any progress. If it's going to happen, it's got to happen right away. The Raptors' face 7 teams from last years playoffs in the first 10 games of the season. These important games will really show me if Bargnani's taken that next step.
Raptor insiders said Bargnani's game got increasingly better over the summer. But all in all, it comes down to game production and how he can perform over 82 games.
Bargnani signed a 5yr/$50M extension over the summer. Way overpaid in my opinion, but I'm only saying that because I don't think he's $10M per year talent. That can change, however. Bargnani has the chance to prove to haters he's worth that type of money.
I'm pulling for Bargnani. I really am. I like the guy and I think he has a ton of potential. I pray his momentum from last season carries over into 2009-2010. I, along with Bryan Colangelo, believe in the guy. But considering he'll be entering his 4th NBA season, this is a make or break year for Andrea Bargnani.