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Debunking the Gallinari myth



Jerzeeballa put up a post about why he will not diss Gallo. That post garnered some responses some pro Gallo and other's against Gallo.  For the most part what was uncovered is that people's perceptions of Danilo Gallinari are built around considerable mythology so let's take a look.

Myth number #1 Gallinari is supposed to be an all star caliber player, who at worst if not the franchise was drafted to be the wing man of the franchise player we brought in.  This stems from all of the next "Dirk Nowitzki" talk surrounding Gallo.  However where did that come from? Would any of you be shocked if I said the Nets and Isaiah Thomas? It was then Nets GM Kiki Vandeweghe who came up with the next "Dirk" tag for Gallo. Thomas seconded the title. So smitten was Vandeweghe with Gallo that he tried to swap picks with Donnie to guarantee that he got him.  The first five picks in the 2008 draft everyone was clear on, the only question after Rose and Beasley was in what order would Mayo, Westbrook and Love go but none about the fact that they were the top five.. However Donnie and Kiki were unable to come to a deal because the Nets would not take on Jamal Crawford's contract. Had that deal gone through Gallinari would be a Net today not a Knick.

Myth number #2 Gallinari is a Knick because of Mike D'Antoni advocated for him. The fact is that the firing of Isaiah Thomas actually decreased the chance that Gallo would be a Knick. Gallinari had been on Isaiah's mind as a possible draft pick for two years. When Isaiah was fired remember he still was kept on as a consultant.  Well it was Isaiah who brought film footage of Gallinari and Nicolas Batum to Donnie and suggested that he be sent to Europe to evaluate those two players in person. Donnie then spoke with Wilson and after getting his take on Gallo and Batum, Donnie  sent Thomas and Grunwald to italy and France to evaluate the two players.  Thomas returned and informed Donnie that Gallinari looked better in person than on film and was a top 10 prospect for sure, Batum he was also impressed with but thought he was a late first round/early second round pick. Mike D'Antoni had nothing to do with this at all.

The truth about the pick- Gallo was a compromise pick as neither Donnie nor D'Antoni were as high on him as they were other people. D'Antoni wanted Westbrook who proved unattainable. Donnie then floated the idea of Eric Gordon, whom Donnie beleived was a better player than Gallo, D'Antoni was opposed to Gordon who he saw as a younger Crawford with a less reliable jumpshot. Donnie then settled on Randolph and D'Antoni did not object, however Donnie backed off at the last minute because while he felt that Randolph had far more upside that Gallo, he also felt the the probability that Randolph would be a total bust was also higher and given that this was his first draft pick in NY Donnie did not feel he could risk it. So he took Gallo, because he fit D'Antoni's system and the chance he would be a total bust was less.

So there you have it, Gallo was not drafted to be a star, he was drafted because he was a safe pick whom both D'antoni and Walsh could agree on. He was not seen as a savior or even a future star by either Donnie or D'Antoni. The future star crap came about as a result of the need to put a new face on the Franchise, Marbury had been the face, David Lee got some run in that role, but only so much because he was an Isaiah player, so in steps Gallo.  Listen folks had Randolph been the pick he would have gotten the same treatment.

 

So there you have it, given what his actual prognosis was, Gallinari is meeting and actually exceeding expectations somewhat.  Gallinari is right, he is not an Allstar and he may never be one, but the reality is he was not drafted to be. He was drafted because he had the necessary skills to play in D'Antoni's offense and that is all.

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