Acquired on July 10 in a trade with the Toronto Raptors, the 28-year-old Bargnani has struggled and averaged 8.8 points, 2.0 rebounds and 0.5 assists in four games as a Knick.
Particularly concerning, the 7-foot, 256 pound Bargnani hasn’t blocked one measly shot.
Brittle and possibly lacking testicular fortitude, the passive Italian’s a major defensive liability for New York.
Bargnani, who was stricken with pneumonia and declared unfit to participate in September’s Eurobasket tournament, has a lot to prove as an employee at The World’s Most Famous Arena.
Currently pocketing $10.8 million and holding an $11.5 million option for 2014-15, the first overall pick in 2006 must finally mature into a consistent force on the hardwood.
Accordingly, with a couple of graybeards and gimps on their roster, Bargnani’s importance to the Knicks (1-3) has dramatically increased.
Going 54-28 and advancing to the Eastern Conference semifinals, the Knicks certainly had an impressive 2012-2013 campaign.
Losers of three consecutive contests, Bargnani needs to remain healthy and shine Friday against the Bobcats in Charlotte.
Without a sturdier and tougher Andrea Bargnani, the Knicks will miserably disappoint fans in Gotham this winter.by