Finally Healthy, 7-Foot Italian Seems At Home In The Triangle Offense

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — It took forever for Andrea Bargnani to get on the court this season, but since he has he’s impressed Phil Jackson.

So much so that the Knicks would reportedly like to bring the 7-foot Italian back next season.

A calf injury forced Bargnani to miss 49 of the Knicks’ first 51 games, but since returning he’s seemingly gotten better every game. He is averaging 18.6 points and shooting 55.2 percent from the floor over the last five games.

“We’ve only had (a) short sample size of Andrea this season,’’ Knicks head coach Derek Fisher said. “I just think he’s continuing to get more comfortable playing basketball again. Big guys with Andrea’s size to be out of basketball from January 2014 to February 2015, that’s a long time not to play games night in and night out. I think he’ll have a bump in the road from time to time, but he’s not doing anything he’s not capable of doing. His ceiling can continue to rise if he stays healthy and keeps working hard. He’s enjoying being out on the floor.’’

Bargnani, 29, appeals to Jackson because he gives the Knicks length, decent post defense and has little trouble scoring and passing in the triangle offense, the NY Post reported.

In the final year of a five-year, $50 million deal he signed with Toronto, Bargnani is averaging 15.0 points, 4.9 rebounds and shooting 43.8 percent from the floor over his nine-year career. He said he’s trying not to think too far ahead.

“I don’t think it is the place or time to talk about the future. The summer is in front. I’m very focused on finishing the season with the Knicks. I don’t know what’s going to happen,” Bargnani said. “It’s just about the Knicks and this season and my teammates. It’s all about the team right now.’’

The Knicks (12-49) entered play Monday with the worst record in the NBA.

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