Andrea Bargnani was the No. 1 overall draft pick in 2006 and has not developed into the franchise player the Toronto Raptors hoped he would become. The team has had one winning season since he was drafted, and they actually started winning this season after he got hurt. Though he is talented, one of his big problems seems to be his mental toughness.
Sam Mitchell coached the Raptors four and a half seasons and led the team to the playoffs twice. He was the team’s coach when Bargnani was drafted, and he says he wasn’t able to coach the Italian player the way he would have liked.
During an appearance on “Tim & Sid” on the Fan 590 in Toronto, Mitchell says the organization coddled Bargnani.
“I would say my biggest problem with Andrea is I wasn’t allowed to coach Andrea the way I was allowed to coach Jose (Calderon). I was a hard ass on Jose. I was hard on him,” said Mitchell, “but look at the type of player he turned out to be.”
Calderon was drafted by the team the year before, and he has developed into a fine point guard.
“I was not allowed to be that tough on Andrea because the organization thought he couldn’t take it. My whole thing is, if he can’t take it, then we can’t build around him,” said Mitchell.
“No one thought Jose could take it, but look at how Jose did.”
Mitchell was asked by the hosts how early the team decided Bargnani couldn’t handle harsh coaching.