We've talked all summer about how Andrea Bargnani could benefit from a new role. Less offensive responsibility means less pressure and cleaner looks, which typically means going-in-er shots. What became apparent after the first exhibition game is that the transition isn't as smooth as just that. It'll take some extinguishing of old instincts and conditioning of new ones. In particular, Bargnani is being encouraged to reconsider the use of his deadly pump fake (I don't use the word "deadly" lightly. Legend has it Andrea once pump faked a defender's skull clean off his spine). Chris Herring went in-depth on this matter, soliciting insight from Carmelo Anthony, the man who provides that role-changing presence for Bargnani:
"A lot of times, he [doesn't] even need it because he's so wide open," Anthony said. "I'm telling him that sometimes, we're all gonna be on one side of the floor, and you're gonna be wide open. He has one of the deadliest shot fakes in the game, but it's just a matter of when he needs to use it and when he doesn't."
Click through, because Herring goes on to demonstrate both the effectiveness of the falso pompare in Toronto (using foul data, which is the best you can do without watching hundreds of hours of video) and the degree to which Bargnani's open looks in New York should exceed those he enjoyed in Toronto (a lot).
Now, we saw Wednesday how even a wide-open outside look can be turned into something greater with a well-timed fake on a defender rushing to close out. Bargnani drew six free throws in 19 minutes, mostly by wobbling fools from the perimeter, then attacking. The fake can still be a deadly tool, it just needn't be a reflex any longer.
I imagine the pump fake is representative of something more general, and something I find pretty fascinating. Bargnani's initiation with the Knicks will entail some simplification of his approach. When you're playing with Melo, you can let him do the hard work (and maybe refocus that energy into defense and rebounding, right??). Of course, getting used to doing less might take some effort.