Time for Bargnani to play big

FRANK ZICARELLI, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 10:41 AM ET

The Raptors could have really shaken up their rotation had they decided to put Andrea Bargnani into the second unit.

Even though Bargnani has fallen back into his nasty habit of disappearing in games, he won't be losing his starting role anytime soon.

When he was playing at a high level back in January, Bargnani was making a pretty compelling case as an all-star.

He wasn't settling for jumpers, was rebounding, blocking shots, getting to the line and providing that much-needed interior defence.

When the Raptors needed Bargnani to step up in Chris Bosh's absence, he had a difficult time reacting to the added attention of double teams.

With Jose Calderon expected to return to the starting unit for Wednesday's meeting against the visiting Atlanta Hawks, one of the beneficiaries should be Bargnani.

Calderon is more inclined to defer than Jarrett Jack.

Calderon's jumper, which is dropping, also makes him more dangerous in pick-and-roll sets.

A lot needs to be improved for the Raptors to get back on track and a lot will be asked of Bargnani, who needs to step up.

Triano's dilemma

Head coach Jay Triano must be feeling the itch to change, but his hands are somewhat tied.

All kinds of scenarios have been floated, cries to change the starting unit and rework the second unit have been aired.

Triano is resisting, for now, because he isn't sure how many reserves are playing at a level to justify them stepping in for starters.

"I have a hard time finding guys in the second unit who have warranted the ability to start, for the most part,'' Triano said.

During the last two days of practice, Triano and his staff have gone with two separate teams.

Triano described the last two days as good practices, but now come the hard part of transferring them into games.

A wobbly Wright

Antoine Wright's status for Wednesday is questionable.

Wright suffered a mild ankle sprain against Portland on Sunday and did not play in the second half.

Wright did not practise on Tuesday and it doesn't sound as if he will be in uniform against the Hawks.

Wright went through a stretch when he was making clutch shots late in games and burying many of his open looks.

During the team's recent slide, Wright has taken some ill-advised jumpers.


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