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STEVE BUFFERY -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 10:44 AM ET

MILWAUKEE -- Former Raptors assistant coach Jim Todd said Raptors centre/forward Andrea Bargnani and Milwaukee Bucks rookie Yi Jianlian are "almost twins."

That is, twins in the spirit of the movie starring Arnold Schwarzenegger and Danny DeVito.

"They're a carbon copy of one another," Todd said yesterday at the Bradley Center.

Todd said the similarities are in their size, build and style of play. Bargnani is, of course, an Italian, while the much-heralded Yi is from China, so they don't exactly look alike from a facial perspective.

But Todd is on to something. More and more around the NBA, Yi is being compared to Bargnani, which isn't a bad thing as Bargnani's stock is going through the roof this season after posting three solid games for the Raptors as the club's starting centre.

"They both shoot the three. They both play inside. They both pass it well. They both handle it fairly well. They're both young and learning how to play better defence in the league. (And) it's good for TV," said Todd, meaning they bring an international dimension to the NBA.

Yi, whose initial refusal to come to Milwaukee prior to this year's draft was soap opera material (the Bucks drafted him sixth overall anyway), has settled in nicely in this corner of Wisconsin, averaging 9.0 points and five rebounds in 25 minutes as a starter for the 1-2 Bucks.

Last night's game marked the first time the promising pair faced each other and the comparisons were flying, although Todd said that Yi, despite early positive reports, will have to work hard to become the player that Bargnani already is.

"Bargnani could be an MVP contender," said Todd, who left the Raptors to come to Milwaukee after last season.

"That would take six-seven years, but it's a possibility because of what he can do. But I think Yi is going to be an unbelievable player, like Andrea."

Raptors head coach Sam Mitchell, meanwhile, launched into a rant when asked if he would compare the two.

"I don't compare players," Mitchell said. "I'm still looking for the next Michael Jordan.

"Ya'll (reporters) keep saying he's out there. I'm still looking for him.

"When you find him, you show him to me. I'm still looking for the next Larry Bird. Where is he?

"I'm still looking for the next Kareem (Abdul-Jabbar), the next Wilt (Chamberlain), the next Bill Russell.

"Ya'll keep comparing these guys and ya'll have been wrong 100% of the time. There are no comparisons."

Mitchell believes it is an insult to compare players, such as when people compare Kobe Bryant to Jordan.

"When Kobe goes to the Hall of Fame, does he want (Michael Jordan's) name on his bust?" he asked.


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