Bosh not big on Bargnani

MIKE KOREEN -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 9:55 AM ET

The Raptors are exploring the possibility of taking Andrea Bargnani with the first pick in the NBA draft, but Chris Bosh has serious issues with that potential scenario.

On the day Raptors president/general manager Bryan Colangelo sent advisor Wayne Embry and coach Sam Mitchell to Italy to scout Bargnani, Toronto's all-star forward did not give a glowing endorsement to the versatile 6-foot-11 pro from Benetton Treviso.

"He can really shoot the ball, but like I said before, I think we have plenty of talented big guys who play the finesse four spot," Bosh told the Fan 590 AM yesterday. "I think we need to get more of a banger."

Bosh gave better reviews to two other potential top picks -- 6-foot-9 LSU forward Tyrus Thomas and Dallas workout-mate LaMarcus Aldridge, a 6-foot-11 forward/centre out of Texas. Colangelo has said Bosh deserves to have a say in the team's decision-making process.

"If we can get a big guy who is not going to look for many shots, who just wants to set screens ... and control the paint, that would give us a lot of flexibility," Bosh said.

Colangelo doesn't disagree with the need for a tough, rebounding big man, but he doesn't see the basketball world in an old-school way. If the Raptors do not have a traditional centre on the roster, so be it.

"There's a big hole in terms of the five position in this league right now," Colangelo said. "Shaq, I think, called himself the last five standing ... We will continue to try to get playmaking, versatile players. It doesn't matter how big they are."

Bargnani is a big man with a good outside shot and perimeter game. There had been speculation before the draft lottery that Bargnani might not report to the NBA unless he was selected by Toronto, which is poised to add Benetton general manager Maurizio Gherardini as its assistant GM. However, Bargnani's agent shot down that rumour.

Meanwhile, Bosh took what appeared to be a veiled shot at free-agent-to-be Mike James when he was asked about what the team needs in a point guard in the radio interview.

"I think it's very important to have a pass-first point guard, somebody who can make plays down the stretch of a game," he said. "When (he says) make plays, I don't mean making shots for themselves because I don't think that makes anybody better."

In other news, Colangelo said the Raptors are close to finalizing a pre-season rematch against Maccabi Tel Aviv. Last year, the touring Israeli team beat the Raptors 105-103.


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