|Ed Davis might still be the starter after Andrea Bargnani returns. (Getty Images)|
Since being the No. 1 pick of the 2006 draft, Bargnani's Raptors have gone from being a two-time playoff team in his first two seasons to compiling a record of 130-214 in the next four-plus seasons. Bargnani's scoring has been above average but his defense and rebounding have left much to be desired. And desire (for a different player) the Raptors fans have certainly done.
In the first 21 games of the season, Bargnani "helped" his team begin the 2012-13 campaign with a 4-17 record. Then he went down with an elbow injury that has kept him out ever since and allowed Ed Davis a chance at the starting job.
Before Friday night's game against the Sacramento Kings, Raptors coach Dwane Casey told reporters that when Bargnani returns from injury, Davis will still have a chance to keep the starting power forward job.
Casey just said Ed Davis has made his case to earn his position even when Bargnani comes back— Ryan Wolstat (@WolstatSun) January 4, 2013
After Bargnani went down with the elbow injury, the Raptors seemingly corrected themselves and have posted an 8-2 record without him. With the team's recent success without the much-maligned Bargnani, fans have been hoping he'd be traded away so younger guys like Davis could get more playing time and experience.
With Davis in the starting lineup this season, the Raptors have posted an offensive efficiency of 104.9 and a defensive efficiency of 102.8. With Bargnani in the starting lineup, those numbers shift to an offensive efficiency of 101.1 and a defensive efficiency of 106.9.
Before going down with his injury, Bargnani was averaging 16.0 points, 4.3 rebounds, 0.7 blocks and shooting 39.8 percent from the field. As a starter, Davis has averaged 12.2 points, 7.0 rebounds, 0.9 blocks and made 59.6 percent of his shots.
They've clearly played better without Bargnani and Davis does deserve the chance to keep the job he's excelled in recently.
It will be interesting to see how things shake out and if it will mean a trade involving Bargnani in the near future.