Derek Fisher says Andrea Bargnani can be 'matchup problem'

Friday October 10th, 2014

New York Knicks coach Derek Fisher spoke highly of foward/center Andrea Bargnani after coaching him for the first time this week, according to Ian Begley of ESPN.

In a preseason game Wednesday, Bargnani went 3-for-7 from the field and grabbed five rebounds during 19 minutes on the floor.

"Andrea's activity was good. He was versatile, just like I'd always observed from a distance," Fisher said. "He can shoot the basketball, he can put it down; he's a matchup problem for other teams when he's playing the frontcourt at the 4, the 5."

Wednesday's preseason opener was Bargnani's first game action since he suffered an elbow injury in January that ended his season. He was acquired by New York in summer 2013 with the goal of adding a scorer to complement Carmelo Anthony.

Before his injury, Bargnani was recording 13.3 points and 5.3 rebounds in 29.9 minutes per game. Prior to his injury the team was 15-27, and without him the Knicks went 21-18.

"It was good to be back on the court after 10 months. I was happy to be able to play with my teammates," Bargnani said.

"I know it is my last year...I've had bad injuries for [the last] three years, I wasn't able to play...My main thing is try to stay healthy and try to help the team win as much as possible."

Bargnani, selected from Italy in the first-round of the 2006 draft by the Toronto Raptors​, enters the final year of a five-year, $50 million contract.

He will likely share minutes in the front court with Jason Smith and Amar'e Stoudemire, whom he started ahead of on Wednesday night.

The Knicks ended last season 37-45, finishing third in the Eastern Conference's Atlantic Division, missing the playoffs.

New York has six preseason games remaining between Oct. 11 and Oct. 24. It begins the regular season on Oct. 29, when the Knicks host the Chicago Bulls​.

- Christopher Woody


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