2009 Report Card: Danilo Gallinari

Gallinari’s first year in America was a comedy of errors. When the player New York reportedly coveted (Russell Westbrook) went one pick earlier, Gallinari was seemingly taken as Plan B. In his first preseason game Gallinari faced a 300+ lb behemoth in Robert “Tractor” Traylor, and promptly hurt his back. The youngster sat out the rest of preseason, but was ready when the season started. In the Knicks first game, D’Antoni played Gallo over Marbury prompting fans to inexplicably cheer for Stephon. After his second game, Gallinari’s back prevented him from playing until mid-January. The rookie played spot minutes for 2 months before calling it a season.

I think it’s safe to say that Gallo’s rookie season is one he, the team, Knick fans, and perhaps all of Italy are hoping to forget. On the court the youngster appeared robotic at times, no doubt a result of his back injury. He didn’t have a full range of motion, almost as if the uniform guy put way too much starch in his jersey. Judging a 20 year old from 400 minutes isn’t very reliable but factor in a bad back, and it’s hard to separate Gallo’s attributes from his limitations due to injury. For instance his rebounding was extremely poor for a 6-10 forward, cleaning the glass at about the same rate (4.8 reb/36) as Nate Robinson (4.7 reb/36). He only blocked 4 shots all year (0.3 blk/36). But until he’s healthy for some serious minutes, we won’t know if these are areas that he needs to work on or if his back limited his production.

What we do know is that the kid can shoot, as Gallinari hit 44.4% of his threes and 96.3% of his ones. While it’s unlikely that he’ll keep his percentages that high for a full season, it’s likely that he’ll be an above average shooter over the course of his career. Gallo attempted to show his handle on the perimeter to mixed success. He definitely has some skill with the basketball and can go behind the back when needed, but he appears awkward when doing so. Save for his poor block rate, Danilo looked adequate defensively with above average lateral speed to and an eye for the ball (1.2 stl/36).

Using 400 injury-plagued minutes isn’t a good measure of any NBA player. For fun I decided to run my similarity scores for the 10 most comparable players. However due to the small sample size combined with Gallo’s youth, the first player is 2 standard deviations away (Julian Wright), and the second is 3 (C.J. Miles). I wouldn’t read too much into these.

.000 Danilo Gallinari 2009 NYK 13.4 .621 .576 14.9 1.1 4.8 1.3 1.2 0.3 1.3
.199 Julian Wright 2008 NOH 15.4 .581 .562 12.5 1.9 6.6 2.3 1.6 0.7 1.9
.220 C.J. Miles 2008 UTA 14.2 .574 .542 15.5 0.8 4.1 2.8 1.7 0.4 1.4
.241 Thaddeus Young 2009 PHI 15.3 .549 .524 16.0 1.9 5.3 1.2 1.4 0.3 1.6
.259 Mike Miller 2001 ORL 13.2 .541 .523 14.7 1.0 4.9 2.1 0.8 0.3 1.5
.289 Eric Gordon 2009 LAC 14.9 .593 .529 16.8 0.6 2.7 2.9 1.0 0.5 2.2
.296 Nicolas Batum 2009 POR 12.9 .555 .532 10.5 2.1 5.4 1.8 1.2 1.0 1.2
.303 Gerald Green 2006 BOS 13.1 .541 .500 16.1 1.0 3.9 1.7 1.3 0.4 2.1
.326 Rashard Lewis 2000 SEA 16.5 .543 .521 15.4 2.9 7.7 1.6 1.4 0.8 1.8
.345 Daniel Gibson 2007 CLE 9.4 .556 .537 10.1 1.0 3.4 2.5 0.8 0.3 1.6
.368 Adrian Dantley 1977 BUF 18.3 .601 .520 20.0 3.2 7.5 1.8 1.2 0.2  
.401 Mark Olberding 1977 SAS 14.2 .579 .503 15.8 3.0 8.3 2.2 1.1 0.5  

Just to expand things, I ran two queries from Basketball Reference to get some more similar players. The first of players 6-10 or taller who grabbed less than 5 rebounds per 36, and the second of players who hit 44% of their threes while attempting 6.0 or more per 36. The latter produced only 4 other players, the former 49, and surprisingly a lot fit Gallinari’s mold: Hedo Turkoglu, Rashard Lewis, Peja Stojakovic, Brent Barry, Danny Ferry, and Cliff Robinson. Although the Knicks were probably hoping for more out of the #6 pick, it’s not a bad group to be in. Consider that the aforementioned players have been cogs on teams that have all made it to the Finals.

Report Card (5 point scale):
Offense: 4
Defense: 2
Teamwork: 4
Rootability: 5
Performance/Expectations: 2

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Mike Kurylo

Mike Kurylo is the founder and editor of KnickerBlogger.net. His book on the 2012 Knicks, "We’ll Always Have Linsanity," is on sale now. Follow him on twitter (@KnickerBlogger).

45 thoughts to “2009 Report Card: Danilo Gallinari”

  1. The question Knick fans wanted Gallo to answer his rookie year was:

    Is he more Nowitski, or is he more Lampe?

    z-Sum says…??

  2. In Italy, Danilo was consistently shooting over 80% on free throws.

    In addition to the actual physical limitations of his back injury, you could also have mentioned how his injury affected the way D’Antoni used him. There were some reports that Danilo was banished to the perimeter.

  3. I loved the way the PA guy said his name after he scored:


    I thought he was going to break out into “That’s Amore” afterwards.

  4. Berman in the Post today says the Knicks are very interested in Boozer. I swear that guy goes down the free agent list every day and says to himself: “Which FA should I start a rumor about today?” Sort of like he did with the draft. On a positive note, I can’t wait to see Toney Douglas play.

  5. Jon Abbey: “I thought he was going to break out into “That’s Amore” afterwards.”

    They actually played that song the first few games Danilo played, but then he had a talk with the PA guys and changed it to an Alice In Chains song, presumably “The Rooster.”

  6. I for one, think Danilo could become one of the best players in the NBA. Watching him play against the hawks where he had 17 points was ridiculous. When that guy gets goin, no one knows what can stop him.

  7. So what’s the grade? Incomplete?
    That’s how I would grade Danilo. His great shooting was a sight for sore eyes, but, honestly, he barely played. He looks like a player with good feel for the game, but is he too slow or too soft?

    I’m guessing we still won’t know after another year. We have a lot of 3s and 4s on this team. Where does he fit?

  8. Kikuchiyo – I totally agree on the ‘incomplete’ grade for Gallo. Even the comparisons above are a bit skewed because he was injured the entire season after getting run over by the Tractor last preseason in Vegas.

    That said, he has already shown that he is more Dirk than Majic.

  9. Sorry for the double post. Just wanted to comment on the two story lines on Eddy Curry.

    One line has Eddy impressing the hell out of everyone with his weight loss and regained agility. Berman indicates that he reached almost 360 last season and is now down to 330. If true, he still has a long way to go. He need to lose at least another 30-40 to be able to keep up in D’Antoni’s system.

    The other line has Eddy failing to impress anyone in the front office. Isola’s article today was very critical – not that it isn’t warranted. Apparently, Eddy forgot to bring his shoes to the gym. Uh, yeah, my dog ate them . . .


  10. This is the most excited I’ve been about a Knick player since, like, Marcus Camby.

    While David Lee earned his way to the top of the league, this is a kid where the sky is practically the limit (same with Camby, at the time).

  11. 14-14 is my grade …thats the knicks record in that small sample Danilo played in ….as opposed to 18-36 in the games he missed.

    was it all him ?

    not remotely , but even to the untrained eye that is more than luck , his game fits D’antoni’s system to a tee , basically the biggest contribution he made is his TS% which if he had played enough to qualify would have placed him 4th in the league.(.621)

    physically he was a wreck , he played in pain and at time he really looked like it. hopefully he can rebound like scottie pippen did after the same injury plagued him in his rookie year and have a long and fruitful career.

    Gallinari played a selfless , refreshing brand of basketball that when combined with a healthy prepared and right minded team can be formidable next season .

  12. Both the stats and eyes match up with Danilo — the team looked much better with him on the floor and he looked incredibly poised for someone coming into a new team, a new country, and playing through a difficult injury. I can’t wait to see him this season. Hopefully he can stay at relatively full health. I feel like he could quickly become a more mobile, better version of Turkoglu, but it’s all wishful thinking until he gets some serious minutes and a bigger role.

  13. Only 48 seconds until summer league game 1 starts!

    Thanks for the countdown KB.

    Most awaited game of the season!!

  14. unfortunately the game starts at 6pm EST… so you’ll have to wait another 3 hours, Z.

    meanwhile, there are reports that the Clippers want Iverson? Wow, make sure to put Dunleavy right behind Isiah on a list of coaches that are never allowed to (again) get near our franchise. How in this world can Iverson and Baron Davis possibly co-exist on a team?

  15. TDM, just read the article you provided in the link. It says the Greek basketball club Olympiakos is interested in Nate Robinson (same team Josh Childress plays for).

    What do you guys make of this? Do you think Nate would bite?

  16. “What do you guys make of this? Do you think Nate would bite?”

    I’m not sure. Somewhere I read that they would keep his rights, so in that case it wouldn’t be so bad. This year would suck without him (no guard depth), but as long as he’s off the cap or has a minimal effect, it would help them sign a free agent in 2010. Then when the Knicks are good, Nate can come back & help the team.

    BTW I listened to Brandon Tierney & David Lee’s agent. I have to say I’m not optimistic on the Knicks getting him cheap. Granted agents are just salesmen who are publicly oblivious to their product’s faults. So you’ll hear a lot of dumb things from them (imagine the most wide-eyed optimistic Lee fan, then imagine his little brother who is an even bigger Lee fan – so much that he thinks his big brother is a Lee-hater). Lee’s agent said Lee was an All Star level player, and should be compensated as much. (Said the league called him up & said if another player got hurt, Lee would have been the next All Star.)

    He also said every team in the leauge wants Lee, but that the Restricted Free Agent system really hurts him with bargaining. No one wants to sign Lee, because it will tie up their money and the Knicks might match. (I don’t think Tierney asked him why Millsap got an offer….) Tierney basically said Walsh had him beat, knowing no team would give Lee an offer for them to match.

    Seems like he’s digging in deep. Would have been nice to hear him extend an olive branch.

  17. “Do you think Nate would bite?”

    Depending what they offer, Nate could triple or even quadruple his take-home salary for a year — but he’d still be a restricted FA next summer, meaning the Knicks could match offers… as we’ve seen, that’s not where you want to be. And he doesn’t seem like a Euro-guy, in it for the long-term. I predict he sucks it up and takes the QO, or maybe signs a modest long-term deal.

    re: Gallo, gotta agree with the incomplete. He’s exciting because he might become a star — lights-out shooter, good head for the game, barely 20. And really, until the FAs come, Gallo is the best hope we have for immediate improvement. David Lee is terrific, but he’s 26 and we already know what kind of player he is. Jordan Hill & Chandler seem like decent starters, at best. And then you have Gallo… if he plays 2000 minutes as well as he played the first 400, that will boost the Knicks by 6 or 7 wins alone.

    But there are a few things working against him. Even if he’s better than he showed in ’08-09, he’s not a good rebounder, not good enough to play PF full-time. And he might be a decent athlete, but on the perimeter his quickness is average at best. You could say the same things about Nowitzki, but Dirk is 7 feet tall and it shows on the boards.

    Turkoglu might be a better high-end comparison — a real SF. But it’s not that hard to see Tim Thomas or Bargnagni, just 3-point specialists, especially if Gallo’s back is a long-term problem.

  18. re: DL, unless he gets hurt I have no doubt he WILL get a big deal next summer, $50 million minimum. So I think it would be a mistake for Walsh to squeeze too hard. You can burn some bridges, like the Bulls did with Ben Gordon (too be fair, I don’t know if they care, or should). Burning bridges with DL would be a mistake.

    On his end, you hope that if Walsh offers Millsap money, he takes it — it wouldn’t be THAT far off his market value, he wouldn’t have to worry about injuries and there’s something to be said for playing in a great city with a great coach. But if Walsh is really offering a mid-level deal, or even a flat $7 million per, I don’t blame DL for being upset. And you know what they say about payback.

    Still, at this point it’s probably a lot of posturing, on both sides — DL Bartlestein digging in his heels, and Walsh making noise about moving on. At least, I hope that’s all it is.

  19. “re: DL, unless he gets hurt I have no doubt he WILL get a big deal next summer, $50 million minimum.”

    I’m not sure that’s true at all. If the rumblings about the cap dropping to $50-52 million next year come true, not that many teams will have 10+ million in cap space. And to think that a team will max out their cap on David Lee is a little unrealistic — the only teams that would do that are teams that think they are just one David Lee away from serious contention. I think that list is VERY short. Trouble is, PF is one of the most talented positions in the NBA right now in terms of the contenders – not many have a real need at PF.

    The problem for Lee is, he is not considered by most GMs to be a 2nd best player on a championship contender at this point, yet wants to be paid like one, asking for $10M+. You can never rule out stupid franchises, but I just don’t see any contenders having both cap room and a need for Lee. As for non-contenders, I don’t see any teams maxing out their cap for Lee considering he is not considered a player that can turn a non-contender into a contender. And while he is a fan favorite, he’s not the flashy addition that sells season tickets (like Nate might be, actually).

    Truth is — he is really very comparable to Millsap. And Millsap just got an 8 million dollar offer, so that really is Lee’s market value. For his agent to present hearsay about people telling him that Lee would’ve been the next all-star and that in years past when money was free and the economy was better, players with Lee’s stats got Okafor-horrible-contract $$– that really means nothing at all. Next year when the cap could be lower and the pool of FAs much stronger, his market value could be even less. If I were Lee, I might tell my agent to cool it with the 10-12 million dollar rhetoric, because obviously no one is going to offer that. It’s the NBA’s version of mark-to-market accounting.

  20. I don’t believe for a minute that the cap will be $50 million – that’s Stern’s saber-rattling, I doubt it goes below $55 million, but even at $53 million, I count about 13 teams that could offer $10 million-plus to a FA. (Cleveland, Miami, New Jersey, Chicago, Houston, Minnesota, LA Clippers, Oklahoma City, Sacramento, Utah, New York, Atlanta and Memphis).

    Some of it is a matter of perspective — $10 million isn’t even close to a max deal. The Spurs have 4 guys making more than that. The Lakers have 4, too (though Odom will be going under). The Cavs had 5 this past season. The Magic have 3, and Nelson is close. Heck, the Wizards have four guys making more than $10 million.

    Bottom line, a lot of GMs know Lee’s value. He’ll be considered, at least, one of the best 8 or 9 FAs on the market next summer, and many of those guys will not be leaving their teams. If 5 or 6 big FAs switch teams, and a dozen teams have money to burn, you can bet that DL gets paid.

  21. p.s. you can scratch Utah from that list, since they extended Okur and might do Millsap, too.

  22. Obviously would have been nice to see more minutes and better health, but I was pretty thrilled with the minutes Danilo played. The rebounding numbers aren’t encouraging, but I never thought of him as a 4 so it doesn’t bother me too much.

    “Turkoglu might be a better high-end comparison — a real SF. But it’s not that hard to see Tim Thomas or Bargnagni, just 3-point specialists, especially if Gallo’s back is a long-term problem.”

    Even with a bad back Hedo might be a good comparison, if healthy I think Gallinari could be similar to Hedo but hopefully a bit quicker and a better shooter/scorer. I’d argue Tim Thomas was held back because of something mental/psychological, not physical. He could have been a very good NBA player, at least a Lamar Odom level role player. Bargnani is a stiff next to Gallinari, but has a better inside game. Danilo had a great handle in Italy (a lot more impressive than his shot was), so I think it will come along at the NBA level. I would say that the best case for Gallinari would be sort of a hybrid Peja/Hedo… unless he develops an inside game.

  23. I think Lee is being a bit optimistic about his value at $12 mill per, but at the same time I think 10 mill per is very possible. I agree with Caleb that the cap should not be $50 mill next season, but higher. Everyone keeps pointing out all the available free agents, but as Caleb points out there will be a lot of teams looking to spend money. If teams need PFs they might sign Boozer, Bosh, Amare, Dirk, etc. before Lee, but then their old teams might be in the market for a PF. If those guys resign, then the teams with cap space might turn to Lee.

    For anyone who doesn’t think teams want to throw their cap room at the first warm body that walks by… look around. Joe Dumars is one of the best GMs in the league and he rushed to overpay Gordon and throw the rest of his money at Villanueva. Neither of those guys is a “franchise player.” Bryan Colangelo is likewise a great GM, and he threw tons of canadian dollars at Hedo, then spent the rest of his money on Jarrett Jack… giving Bargnani 10 mill per in between. Memphis threw their cap space to the Clippers by trading for Zach Randolph, and are now trying to throw as much money as they can at AI.

    Millsap was in a weak bargaining position once neither Okur nor Boozer opted out. You can probably also argue that he could be 10 mill per if he waited it out, but he obviously wasn’t willing to take the risk. His QO is also $1 mill, compared to Lee’s of 2.7.

  24. Douglas drove and drew a foul against Thabeet. Hit 1-2 from the line.

    Tskitivilli contesting shots.

  25. Douglas pushed it upcourt and found Almond in the corner. I believe Almond has six points already.

  26. Douglas looks sharp, IMO – no wasted movement.

    Interesting to see Ahearn getting so much burn.

    Sene had that one nice block but otherwise you can see why he’s barely in the league.

    Have to say – was surprised and impressed to see Thabeet’s post move. If he can do that against better players than Sene, he’ll be a lot better than I expected.

  27. Hill has had a few nice rebounds, and he hit a jumper. I haven’t seen much else.

    Douglas is looking pretty good.

  28. Impressions:

    – meh about Douglas. Didn’t seem all that great on defense. Didn’t look comfortable running the point to me.

    – Hill — very very active but needs a lot of work. I like how he goes after every rebound though. If you could put that drive in Eddy Curry…

    – Skita — I was actually impressed! Can he be someone like Okur for us?

  29. Hill was active. From what I read of the practices, he’s not quite in game shape. After the game, he said he’s going to work on this for the rest of the summer.

    I didn’t like that his offensive moves seemed kind of tentative. He also shies away from contact.

    Douglas looked like he knew what he was doing. Finished with 11 assists?

  30. D’Antoni expects a “big year” from Eddy Curry. last year was a “big year” from him, it’d be nice if this year was about 50 pounds smaller. :)

  31. How funny would it be if both Darko and Skita are on the Knicks’ roster this season…

  32. Is everyone’s memory so short that they can only compare Gallo to active players like Turkoglu or Nowitzki? The obvious comparison to me is Toni Kukoc – obvious if you can imagine the upside, anyway. Backs tend to be chronic injuries, so we’ll see in what condition he’s in when the season starts.

  33. The problem with the Kukoc comparison is that Kukoc, on his career, was not an efficient scorer, not a good shooter. At this point that’s Danilo’s only strength. Turkoglu isn’t much more efficient than Kukoc. That’s why, depending on how he develops, someone like Peja or Dirk has to come up.

  34. Couldnt see the game tonight, but reading and watching some post-game interviews I liked what I heard from Jordan Hill. Said he played just OK and talked about how for the rest of the summer he is going to have to run alot and get into better shape by training camp.

    I know one thing Walsh is trying to do is bring in better character guys and it was nice to listen to Hill being honest and recognizing quickly what he needs to do to improve. Again it may not be that big a deal and Ill take talent over character almost any day but still nice to see.

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