Andrea Bargnani drives to the basket against the Boston Celtics' Courtney Lee last night at the Air Canada Centre. Bargnani was back in action for the Raptors after missing 24 games. (Reuters)
For a brief moment in time — or maybe it lasted even longer than that — there was some magic in Il Mago and it wasn’t the kind that made him disappear. It was the kind that made you smile and hope.
This is Andrea Bargnani’s seventh season in Toronto and the dissection and misdirection muddles on, trying to understand who he is and what he can be, trying to determine if he’s a worthwhile piece or a 7-foot waste of space, trying to interpret if that blank expression is intensity or disinterest.
Dwane Casey has watched all that, first from afar as a coach of other teams, then for the past season and a half as Bargnani’s coach, and for a series of games, maybe 20 of them, he had accomplished what no one could claim: He had Bargnani looking like a star, playing like a star, seemingly on the rise.