As many Knicks fans have grown fond of hearing, Danilo Gallinari is a one-trick pony. He came into the NBA with an offensive arsenal that was oft compared to Toni Kukoc, wasn't expected to have a great jump shot, but he had the smarts and the floor vision as well as creativity around the basket to mold himself into a bona fide offensive weapon. Well, Gallo came over to the U.S. and wasted no time in hurting his back. Knicks fans moaned and groaned while basketball talking heads everywhere panned the Italian lottery selection as another Frederic Weis. What happened next, however, was Gallinari's "coming out" party. He returned from injury to play some quasi-meaningful games in January, February and March. During those games, he shot 32 of 71 from three point range, good for about 45% from beyond the arc for the year.
The rest after the jump.
His sophomore season doesn't require much explanation; second in the league in three pointers made only to Aaron Brooks, shooting in the high-30's beyond the arc and establishing himself as a sharpshooter with balls, often demanding the rock in the waning seconds of games to shoot ridiculous shots that would go in more often than it seemed they should. He also showed some promise as a rebounder and shot blocker, as well as flashes of brilliant passing and some true posterizations. Although that last sentence may show the "Knicks homer" side of me, if you were to watch every game from last season, you would be tempted to agree with me. Danilo Gallinari was poised for a breakout season this year.
Somewhere along the way, unfortunately, something happened. Gallinari, rather than earning respect as a sharpshooter, was relegated to the "one dimensional chucker" category. While this may be partially true (I'm lookin' at you, Denver Colorado!) some of the time, it's a crying shame that his other skills, particularly those of the offensive variety, have been almost completely ignored.
Well, not today, not anymore. With a ton of help from last night, the truth is slowly surfacing. Danilo Gallinari is a wizard at getting to the free throw line. Once there, he is, as they sometimes say, "lights out." And sure, some of our faithful Knicks watchers and P&T readers may be familiar with this concept, I would venture a guess that no one could have predicted to what extent Gallinari's talent reaches. So, for everyone's benefit (especially the commentators for the Denver Nuggets, as well as every other commentator, sportscaster, talk radio host and incompetent basketball fan who has ever called Gallo one-dimensional.
What does this mean? Well quite simply, it means that Gallinari is third in the NBA in a ratio that compares "Points per game" with "Points per game obtained at the free throw line." For everyone's benefit, I have taken the liberty of putting not just the names of the two players who are higher than Gallinari in this category (as you may expect, Corey Maggette and Chauncey Billups lead the league in this category), but also players who are considered "savvy" at getting themselves to the line, as well as players who are so powerful they get to the line by virtue of athleticism.
This chart begs the question: "If Gallinari is just a three-point shooter and gets all of his points beyond the arc, how, OH HOW, does he draw so many fouls? I mean, the three-pointer is, after all, the shot in basketball least likely to yield free throw attempts." The answer is simple; everyone who assumes that Danilo Gallinari is a one-trick pony is completely, unarguably, point-blank wrong. With his strange gait and advanced technique for fakes, as well as a penchant for bizarre and effective angles, The Rooster draws fouls much the same way Manu Ginobili has drawn fouls his whole career. Once at the line, he converts at better than a 90% clip.
So, call your neighbor. Tell your friends. E-mail your local TV station or call in to your local radio station. Let everyone know once and for all: Danilo Gallinari of the New York Knicks can do more than just shoot threes.