Denver Nuggets: Will Danilo Gallinari be the X-Factor?

A man who stands at nearly 7 feet tall, and has range.  The deadly combo of size and shooting ability is what every NBA coach wishes he had on his roster. For the Denver Nuggets, they have an Italian who fits that bill; his name is Danilo Gallinari.

Gallinari (25)  is 6-foot-10 with a wingspan that reaches out past 7 feet, and weighs in at around 225 pounds. Those elements look very similar to a guy out in Oklahoma City who just won an MVP.

Easy with the quick response to that. I’m not saying Gallinari has the type of game to one day become an MVP candidate, because he’s not even near that caliber. What he can do is benefit his team by becoming the Nuggets’ X-Factor like the front office thought he one day could become.

When the Denver Nuggets traded Carmelo Anthony to the New York Knicks, one of the conditions was the Nuggets needed to get Gallinari in return. Gallinari was the Knicks’ 6th overall pick in the 2008 NBA draft. He was described as a typical overseas player- a guy who has size and can shoot which leads to stardom potential. However, Gallinari has shown that he can be much more than just the stereotypical overseas basketball player.

Offensively he spreads out defenses with his shooting skills from the perimeter. What makes him so difficult to defend is his ability to drive to the basket and draw fouls, which in return  forces defenders to stay true to him instead just focusing on his outside capabilities.

He’s much improved his defensive game and often times doesn’t back down from guarding the opposing team’s best player. He allows coach Brian Shaw to put him at the three where he can be the team’s go-to-guy, or put him at the four where he takes big men away from the paint but doesn’t get over-matched by them psychically. So why has he felt more like a disappointment than a superstar in Denver?

Two things halt great young players from becoming great in professional sports: outside of work problems and injuries. Luckily, Gallinari hasn’t had many problems away from court, instead his biggest problem has been staying on it.

Over the six seasons he’s been a part of the league, Gallinari has only played in 285 out of the 492 possible games (not including playoffs). That mean’s he’s only playing in a little over 50 percent of his games. He hasn’t played in more than a year- he sat out the entire season last year after he tore his ACL and had complications with his surgery and rehab. The Nuggets are hoping this year he will be fresh and remain healthy because when he is he brings another dimension to this team no other member of their roster can provide.

Denver Nuggets

Danilo Gallinari

The last season we saw him play, he was one of the best offensive options the Nuggets had.  He was second in points per game, three-point percentage, and player efficiency rating. For the number fanatics he also attempted the most free-throws and shot the best percentage from mid-range (10-16 feet) out of anybody that year. The Nuggets were among one of the best offensive teams in the 2012-13 season and Gallinari was a main contributor to that.  Once he went down the team lost it’s rhythm and were quickly bounced by Golden State in the playoffs.

Sitting out the entire season last year has allowed Gallinari the proper time to heal his ACL. The reports are he is looking healthy and will be 100 percent ready once training camp opens in October.

The Nuggets need Gallinari to step up if they want to return to being a playoff contending team. Ty Lawson has shown that he isn’t or doesn’t want to be the number one option on offense, so the Nuggets will look for Gallinari to fill in that role. He has all the credentials to be that guy for the Nuggets that’s why they put him as a necessity in the blockbuster trade back in 2011. If Gallinari can stay healthy and play to the way he is capable of playing the Nuggets will surely shed a few more L’s and add more W’s to their record this upcoming season.

  • mariatheana

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