Bargnani last man standing

FRANK ZICARELLI, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 10:57 PM ET

The last man standing is the first player Toronto has ever taken with the first-overall pick.

The last man standing is the last player to salvage Bryan Colangeloís legacy and reputation in Toronto.

When Mondayís frenzy of wheeling and dealing, a day of rumours that grew more valid with each passing hour, ended, Andrea Bargnani stood out, much like the jump-shot happy big stands out on the perimeter.

Bargnaniís inability to develop cost Sam Mitchell his job and the Italian now looms as the one piece capable of keeping Colangelo employed beyond this season.

How these new-look Raptors will function when this season begins is anyoneís guess, who will be asked to do what canít be answered so quickly and what, if any, noise this team can make isnít known.

What is known is that Bargnani is the only player remaining from the team that took to the floor as early as two years ago.

Think about it.

One guy and his name is not Chris Bosh.

One guy will be asked to be the dominant scorer on a team with so many question marks, but one with so much to look forward to in anticipation of what might be or will not be.

Colangelo hasnít just taken a broom to his roster, heís gone to his closet and removed a vacuum cleaner, ridding himself of pieces he thought would address concerns, obliterating a core and giving himself much needed financial flexibility in the years to follow, assuming heís around.

Say what you want about this image-conscious guy, but Colangelo does not stand still, will not stand and be an onlooker as teams around him get better.

No one knows what gains can possibly be achieved this season, but this air of mystery that now hovers the Raptors does make for an interesting time.

Are they good, are they bad, are they destined to miss the playoffs for the third year in a row, no one knows because no one knows how these pieces will work.

What is known is as obvious as the need for Bargnani to mature and assume he role that will ultimately make or break him.

What is known is the Raptors promise to be athletic and long, less inclined to get killed on the glass and abused in the paint, but certainly not as offensively gifted as they were with Bosh.

They actually appear a little more balanced, which isnít a bad thing, a little more versatile, but their identity is far from being complete.

Colangelo simply had to get rid of Hedo Turkoglu and his onerous contract.

Colangelo had to simply admit he made a mistake in deciding Jose Calderon was a better fit than T.J. Ford.

The big four of Bosh, Calderon, Turkoglu and Bargnani from last season has now been whittled to one.

Bargnani can now move into his natural position at power forward, even if Tyson Chandlerís stay in Toronto amounts to just one season.

Chandlerís expiring contract is also nice to have in a market place that may involve a lockout if the NBA and its playersí association does not get a deal in place by this time next year.

Assuming he can stay healthy, which has been an issue, Chandler gives the Raptors a legitimate, long, athletic big whose biggest asset is rebounding the ball and blocking shots.

Bargnani can also continue to play the centre spot, which will give Amir Johnson an opportunity to continue his development at power forward.

But there are options in the frontcourt, depth in bigs who are short on being able to put the ball in the basket.

Thereís versatility in Boris Diaw, who may benefit from playing in Toronto on a team who will allow this one-time sixth-man award winner an opportunity to showcase his multi-dimensional game.

In Leandro Barbosa, thereís some explosive wing play and a guy capable of going off, assuming he stays healthy for the season.

Manic Monday was redefined by Colangelo, who wasnít kidding when he told reporters last week that he had no intention of a rebuild.

As if anyone wanted to know how serious Colangelo was, Mondayís wild events reinforced it.

It also reinforced the importance of Andrea Bargnani and the role he will be asked to embrace.


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