What could have been

FRANK ZICARELLI

, Last Updated: 7:44 AM ET

Fairly or unfairly, Andrea Bargnani forever will be linked with Brandon Roy, the athletic perimeter player the Raptors overlooked when the team took the 7-foot Italian with the first overall pick in the 2006 draft.

Roy recently dropped 52 points, while Bargnani entered last night's game in Portland against the Roy-led Trail Blazers with a chip on his shoulder.

A night earlier, Bargnani actually showed signs of being aggressive when he tangled with Sacramento's Mikki Moore in the paint.

Bargnani played with an edge, getting to the foul line by attacking the rim and leading Toronto's reserves by scoring 14 points on 4-of-5 shooting.

The performance won't appease fans of the Raptors, who continue to wonder what may have been had Bryan Colangelo gone in a different direction.

Roy and fellow 2006 draft classmates, LaMarcus Aldridge and Rudy Gay, each have stepped up, while Bargnani takes more steps backward than forward.

Roy, for the record, joined the rarest of NBA classes by following his 52-point by netting just eight.

In the history of the NBA, only two other players -- Vernon (Mad Max) Maxwell and Tony Parker -- have failed to reach double digits in scoring after dropping at least 50.

Help is on the way

Under interim head coach Jay Triano, the Raptors are protecting the paint and trying to force opponents baseline.

Chris Bosh sees improvement and was encouraged at the way the Raptors made a key late-game stop against the Kings' John Salmons, who was forced to the baseline before turning the ball over.

"We don't want to give guys a straight line,'' Bosh said. "We want someone to help the helper."


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