Danilo Gallinari: The King's New Jester

The dude is already funny looking. And after watching this video you’ll probably understand that he is a funny guy as well. Can you just imagine the pre-game handshake that LeBron and he would have. Pounds…daps…double-pounds…spins…salutes…you name it; it would be included. In fact, this should be a selling point when James comes to New York for his recruiting trip.

Sell him all you want on the pre-game chemistry he could have with Danilo, the reason LeBron could bring the Larry O-Brien trophy to New York (with its embedded guacamole and nacho cheese) is the chemistry these two would have on the court. No, Danilo would not be the King’s pick n’ roll partner (his queen?); instead, he would occupy the corner opposite the main action. He would be Lebron’s jester. Danilo is the perfect player to for this role because if The King kicks the ball out to him he can do one of two things:

1) Catch and Shoot: Danilo is excellent at this. Mike D’Antoni called the Italian forward the best shooter he has ever seen. While I am not sure he is deserving of that title yet (Ray Allen put up a mighty fine argument last night), hitting 2.3 three pointers a game at a clip of 38.6% from behind the line is very good. Being wide open will only ensure that 3-pt FG rate goes up.

2) Pump and Drive: Danilo is very good at this while showing constant progression in his ability to get to the hoop throughout the season. While he will never be confused with Sean Kemp, Danilo can get the closeout defender off his feet with a good pump fake before driving to the hoop. With his excellent length (stop drooling, Jay Bilas) and long strides, Gallo gets to the hoop quickly and efficiently, often getting fouled in the process. Last year he attempted 307 free-throws, a decent number for a guy who is supposedly strictly a jump shooter.

Let us not forget two more important — and related — points.

1) He is only 21 years old: Gallo is finally able to enjoy that glass of that really awesome Super Tuscan from, like, that super ridiculous vintage without having to show his fake ID. I’m guessing that somehow, someway, a 6’10” baby-faced Italian still was able to enjoy the occasional drink. All kidding aside, Gallo still has plenty of time to develop into the best fourth option in the NBA.

2) Last year was essentially his rookie year: As a rookie he logged 28 games and 411 total minutes. In Mikhail Prokhorov talk, “Frankly speaking, this is not much.” In “Year Two,” Gallo played in all but one game (starting 74 of them), while registering 2746 minutes. He clearly improved from October to April. If he is able to stay on the court over the next few seasons there is no reason why he cannot continue to develop into a strong offensive threat.

Will Gallo ever turn into the next Dirk? No, probably not. He doesn’t possess the ability to receive the ball on the high post and take his defender one-on-one. While he could develop this ability, his athletic type does not hint towards this happening. What The Rooster can become, however, is the scariest off-the-ball threat in the NBA. With Chandler assuming the role as the Knicks’ third option after Free Agent of LeBron’s choice acting as his Number Two, Gallinari would be one of the top fourth options in the NBA.

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