Dwane Casey Thinks a Heavier Andrea Bargnani Can Be an All-Star

by October 04, 2012

After a calf injury sidelined him for 35 games last season, Andrea Bargnani went home to Italy and packed on about 15 pounds this summer (thanks to “grandma’s cooking”, claims the big man). Toronto Raptors head coach Dwane Casey believes Bargnani is ready to take the next step in his evolution as a player, and reach All-Star status. Per the CP: “With the reputation as being a soft player, his attention to the defensive side of the game under new coach Dwane Casey was dramatic and impressive. ‘Last year, definitely,’ Bargnani said, when asked if last season was the best basketball he’s played. ‘Not much for the offence because I always play good in the offence, but I was playing very good on defence, that’s why it was the best.’ That made his season-ending injury even tougher to take. ‘It was tough mentally, because I had to sit out and watch my teammates play,’ he said. The seven-footer went home to Italy in the off-season and has come back healthy and strong. ‘Really happy that he’s come into camp in great shape, 15 pounds heavier, stronger but he’s playing at that high level that we saw last year and I’m excited about it,’ Casey said. […] The 26-year-old took a rare summer off from Italy’s national team to fully heal his body and mind, a much-needed break for someone who’s played professionally since he was 18, and Casey said Bargnani is back even better than he was to start the season last year. ‘When he plays at that level, he can be an all-star, one of the most talented players in the league when he plays at that level,’ Casey said. ‘And I have all the confidence in the world that he can do that.’ The extra weight, said Casey, will help his physical play and his stamina.”