Isiah says Raps did well to choose Bargnani

MIKE KOREEN

, Last Updated: 1:38 PM ET

NEW YORK -- Isiah Thomas mentioned Andrea Bargnani and Dirk Nowitzki in the same sentence last night, but the New York Knicks coach was not about to put the Raptors' No. 1 overall pick in the same category as the Dallas Mavericks' international star.

While the inaugural Raptors general manager feels the rookie already is a good player and is capable of developing into an even better player, he is resisting the temptation of calling him a Nowitzki clone, which is sure to please Toronto coach Sam Mitchell.

"I don't think he'll be a Nowitzki type of player, but he'll be a good guy that can play out on the perimeter like that," Thomas said before the Knicks played host to the Raptors last night.

"Those guys are every 30, 40 years. (It's) very rare you see two in the league at the same time. There was one (Larry) Bird, there was one Nowitzki. There was Bird and then Dirk came, but it was a long time before Dirk came. There were a lot of Larry Bird comparisons. But Dirk is the only one you can really legitimately have a discussion about."

Mitchell always avoids comparing Bargnani to any other player when he is asked about the 7-foot Italian.

Thomas, meanwhile, praised Raptors president/general manager Bryan Colangelo for the selection.

"Great shooter, great scorer," Thomas said. "The way they're trying to play and the way they're moving, I think he was the perfect choice for them because he can stretch the defence, he's a good passer, a good ball handler. As time goes on, he's going to be a different type of player."

There were so many media requests for Bargnani last night the Raptors held a separate pre-game media session with the top pick. It was Bargnani's first time at Madison Square Garden since he was picked first overall by the Raptors back in June.


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