Andrea Bargnani: Raptors’ New Leader

No one expects Andrea to fill Bosh’s shoes in the T.Dot, but according to his coach, Bargnani has improved dramatically and appears ready to lead. The Toronto Star reports: “As the Raptors enter the second week of training camp, it’s hard not to notice how much bigger Bargnani has evolved from a physical makeup. For the past eight years, Bargnani has worked with Francesco Cuzzolin, the team’s strength and conditioning coach, bulking up, while at the same time trying to add a new dimension to his game. This summer, Bargnani and Cuzzolin renewed their association in Italy, running a youth camp and later as members of their national team. How everything gets translated onto the court when games begin to count can’t be measured now, but Bargnani comes across as a new man, more determined and more comfortable in his surroundings. ‘It’s normal in anything you do in life to feel more comfortable,’ Bargnani [said]. ‘You just know how it’s going to be.’ … For the Raptors to be relevant this season, Bargnani has to play like he’s the team’s best player because no player on the roster has his unique skill set and no player is going to draw double teams. He’s no Chris Bosh and it’s not likely Bargnani will average 20 points and 10 rebounds. But the Raptors don’t need Bargnani to be a Bosh — what is required is for Bargnani to be consistent, less inclined to settle for outside jumpers and more polished as a weak-side defender. ‘I see a more confident player,’ head coach Jay Triano said of Bargnani. ‘He’s more vocal than he has been in the past and he’s very dedicated. Watching Andrea is like watching a kid grow and before you know it they’re big.'”