As the resident Knick fan at pretty much any social or family gathering, I often get asked about the prospect of LeBron joining the Knicks in 2010. My response typically centers around the notion that getting under the cap is more important than any single free agent, and that I'm satisfied enough with the Knicks' young core to not sweat it too much. This usually raises eyebrows. At that point, I usually cite David Lee's reliability and Wilson Chandler's blossoming grasp of his physical gifts. That gets anything from an eye roll to a half-certain nod. Then I drop the bomb: I also think Danilo Gallinari is a future All-Star. The response goes one of two ways- either "What's a Danillagally?" or bemused snorting, often accompanied by a spit-out drink.
I thought it'd be interesting to bounce this off of the P&T community. I'll make my case and open discussion to determine whether I'm on to something or batshit crazy. I'm already certain that it's a combination of both, but let's have a look at the evidence. I've sort of written this post before (as well as a Christmas carol), but I'm digging deeper and looking for a greater response this time.
Danilo Gallinari Is The Best!!
by Seth Rosenthal
- Danilo Gallinari turns 21 in a little over a week. His NBA career to date amounts to 412 minutes over 28 games, 26 of which were played off the bench. Therefore, I'm extrapolating from a fairly small sample. I know this. Taken alone, each of these little bits of evidence wouldn't be enough. It's the constellation of qualities that has me all hot and bothered.
- I'm probably not intelligent enough to be messing with numbers like this, but consider the following: Danilo Gallinari's True Shooting Percentage (which includes and adjusts for twos, threes, and free throws) last season was 62.1%. Gallo didn't play enough to qualify for the leader board, but with just 90 more minutes (about 6 more games) at that pace, he'd be number 8 on this list. Danilo Gallinari is good at shooting basketballs.
- Gallo shot and made more threes (32-72) than twos (24-53), but also went 26-27 from the line.
- We have some reason to believe that Gallo is willing and able to be clutch as hell. (From about 2:20 forward in this video).
- Gallinari's got heaps of confidence and plenty of determination. The man knows what he needs to improve and wants to be a champion. I know that everybody wants to be a champion, but Danilo really wants to be a champion.
- "Il Gallo" already has a badass hand signal.
- There's a distinct possibility that Gallinari's bad back forbids him from ever fulfilling his potential. But by the same token, everything we saw from Danilo last year was accomplished on a back so bad he sometimes couldn't sleep or put his pants on without pain. We've yet to see a fully healthy Gallinari. Skeptics say we probably never will. I say the best is yet to come.
- Gallinari is 6'11", but doesn't project to play a big man's role. His rebounding and shot-blocking numbers (again, as Mike notes, on a bad back) were rather stinky. That said, guys like Rashard Lewis, Dirk Nowitzki, and Hedo Turkoglu have been plenty successful as tall men with backcourt skillsets. I envision Gallo as one of these swing-forward types, and I'd even offer on observation alone that his defensive "motor" is already miles ahead of each of those three.
So, there's no doubting that I am certifiably insane to be basing my hopes on a youngster who played in just 28 injury-plauged games last year. At the same time, I saw some things in those 412 minutes of stiff but impressive basketball that lead me to believe that Danilo Gallinari has the makings of an NBA star. I'll add that, for one reason or another, I don't take Gallinari to be another fragile Euro who'll never play a full season. For the moment, I'm dismissing the back problem as a fluke, and believe that this post-surgery Gallo is the one we'll watch for years to come.
What do you think? Hit the polls and comment below. I want to know if I'm alone in my semi-psychotic optimism.