Former NBA player David West was at one point in his career one of the most underrated power forwards in the league but on top of everything, an educated and well-spoken player. However, while making an appearance on the Basketball News’ NBA Finals Watch Party, he stated that former NBA players Andrea Bargnani and Chris Bosh would be the most dominant scorers if they played in the NBA today.
West’s explanation behind his statement is based on the difference in rules when both Bosh and Bargnani played for the Raptors over a decade ago. Back then, the referees didn’t protect shooters, especially big men who can shoot, and Bargnani was more inclined to shoot than playing in the post. West has a lot of respect for both Bosh and Bargnani and said it was almost impossible to guard them when they were in their prime years.
I thought about this the other day. When [Andrea] Bargnani and [Chris] Bosh were in Toronto, the reason why that sh** didn’t work is ’cause the NBA let us beat them up! We beat up Bargnani, they let us body Bosh.
“Like, Bosh and Bargnani right now, they would blow this NBA out of the water. They were damn near impossible to guard. I’m serious. The only reason Bargnani didn’t have a (successful) career was ’cause the referees let people like me beat him up!David West, via Basketball News
West believes players who have a similar playing style are more protected today, which is why they are perhaps more successful and admired than some similar players who played 10-15 years ago. He admits the refs would help them get away with fouls committed at the three-point line, which
“In today’s game, he would be killin’ because he would be protected. Ryan, you know, you remember — he would try that sweep at the three-point line; they wasn’t giving him that sh**, that rip-through. We could grab both arms.”David West, via Basketball News
Bargnani played the majority of his career with the Raptors, where he made the most significant impact and even had a season where he averaged 21 points per game. That season came after Bosh left the Raptors to join the Miami Heat back in 2010; however, the two were very complimentary when they played together. Unfortunately, the Raptors back then couldn’t surround them with enough supporting cast to make a more meaningful push in the playoffs.
Despite being a great scorer and shooter for big men, Bargnani often struggled on defense and was a liability opposing teams exploited. His career took a somewhat wrong turn after joining the New York Knicks, and his numbers and overall performance decreased. After having a short stint with the Brooklyn Nets, he soon returned to Europe. It’s hard to believe Bargnani would be one of the most dominant players in the league today, but he would be a good fit for many teams.
His shooting, especially with the way teams are playing today, would probably lead to him scoring 20 points per game, but he was never a two-way player, which would be problematic against other great scoring big men in the NBA.