Perhaps Gallinari’s biggest accomplishment in 2010 was just as simple as staying on the court. The Knicks forward only managed 412 minutes in his rookie year due to a preseason back injury. The biggest question surrounding Gallo going into this season was not how well could play, but how much he could play. Being second on the team in minutes played (2747) was the best way he could answer.
As for his actual development, Gallinari showed that his rookie season wasn’t a fluke. The guy can flat out shoot. Granted he failed to live up to the spectacular shooting percentages of his rookie season, but a 57.9 TS% for a 21 year old is impressive. Best known for his three point shot, Gallo hit 38.2% of his treys at almost exactly the same rate of attempts as his rookie year. (2009: 6.3 3pa/36, 2010: 6.4 3pa/36). But Gallinari added a second aspect to his game, getting to the line. His free throw attempts nearly doubled (2.4 to 4.0 fta/36), due to some acting worthy of “Serie A.” Non-Italian speaking NBA fans might think he earned the name “Rooster” by the way he flails his body at the slightest amount of contact. When driving towards the hoop he’s smart enough to continue with the play post-whistle, even while his body is convulsing earning a fair amount of “and-ones”.
Another aspect of Gallinari’s game is his strong defense. Although he’ll never be confused for a defensive stopper, he’s quick, active and interested enough to keep his opponent in front of him. His steal and blocked shots are average at best, but he does provide good coverage on his man. Given his thespian prowess on offense, you’d hope he’d be able to add the ability to feign contact and draw charges.
There are a few weaknesses in his game he needs to round out. The first is his non existent first step. For a player that shows quickness on defense, Gallo lacks the deftness to get past his defender from the outside. This forces him to give up the ball often when on the perimeter, and appears as if he’s being passive on offense. Gallinari is more apt to put the ball on the floor from the mid/low post, so it isn’t necessarily his handle that is causing the issue. To become a more complete player, he’ll need to be able to create from the perimeter consistently.
Additionally Gallinari’s rebounding is nearly non-existent. Granted he does spend time defending the perimeter, but he is not aggressive on either side of the glass. Looking at his list of similar players, it’s clear that Gallo is lacking in this area in comparison to players of the same ilk. For a 6-10 forward, to be compared unfavorably to Tim Thomas and Quentin Richardson indicates a clear red flag in this area.
Despite his full blown hyalophobia and bouts of Griffin Syndrome Gallinari’s sophomore season was a success. Luckily he’s still young enough to address these issues. Should Gallo fix both of these deficiencies, some All Star games lie in his future.
Report Card (5 point scale):
Final Grade: A-
After a full season, we have a better idea of what Gallo is like. On the good side is that his efficiency is the second highest on this list, and his steals/blocks are near the top as well. On the bad side his rebounding is among the worst, and his PER is well below the top guys (Dirk, Lewis, and even Deng). What’s most odd is that there are three other youngsters on this list (Budinger, Daye and Cassipi). It’ll be interesting how the four separate themselves from each other as the seasons progress.