Down on Danilo

3 07 2008

Boooooo.

I don’t get it. New York fans went hard at Danilo Gallinari at the NBA draft, and some commentators (who really should know better) too. Largely because – I guess – they just don’t get it.
The fact that he couldn’t even successfully complete his post-draft interview due to all the booing is simply an indictment on the New Yorkers who were there.

There’s really a lot to consider before panning Gallinari as a failure (before he even plays a single game no less). Yes, he’s a European. Yes, European players have a reputation of being ‘soft’. Often unfairly so. But to declare Gallinari a bust before he’s even taken the court seems ridiculously foolish… without even exploring as to who the kid is.

Danilo Gallinari, he’s only 19 – the same age as both Derrick Rose and Michael Beasley, and yet his basketball experience has been quite different to this point. Both Rose and Beasley – in coming through the NCAA college ranks – were the big fish in the pool, despite being only in their first year of college.
Not so with Gallinari.
Gallinari has been playing pro-basketball since he was 15, in the Italian leagues (starting out in Serie B1). Fifteen, and playing in an elite men’s professional competition. Against men.
Sure, it might not have been the best men in Europe… but against men, at 15.

The years moved on, and so did Danilo. In the 2006/7 season he played for Olimpia Milano, winning the league 3 point shooting competition. In the 2007/08 season (remember, he’s at this stage 18 years old), he played both Italian Lega A and in the Euroleague, and was generally recognised as being the best player on his team.
He finished playing with Olimpia Milano, giving an exclamation point to his time there with a 27 point game against Maccabi Tel Aviv.
Kid’s got game. Just have to see if it equates to the NBA level… but he deserves a chance.

The thing to remember is that he’s 19. Whilst more experienced at a pro-level than many other players that came out of the draft, he’s still a kid. When he puts on a little more bulk, he’ll be a very handy forward for the Knicks… if the fans give him a chance.
Hell, that’s pretty ironic – Knicks fans put up with Isiah Thomas for four years. And they’re not giving Danilo Gallinari a minute? The least they could do is let the guy play…

And I don’t think we need to worry about Mike D’Antoni’s thoughts towards Gallinari. I’m sure he’ll look after him – he and Danilo’s father Vittorio Gallinari played together at Olimpia.

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6 responses

4 07 2008
Steve

Jerryd Bayless was still available. DJ Augustin was still available.

The Knicks are desperate for a PG. They also need another big man, seeing as Eddy Curry and Jerome James can’t/won’t rebound. They could have gone for Brook Lopez, or even better, Kevin Love. Love would be a nice change – a PF who actually passes the ball would be great after seeing Zach Randolph hog… and hog… and hog.

Danilo is a good player but I have my doubts as to whether he was the right choice.

4 07 2008
withmalice

Maybe on points… but I don’t think either Bayless or Augustin will be major talents (well… Bayless might be). Augustin’s too small, and the last thing NYK needs is to sign another undersized guard.

Both the bigs you name have major question marks surrounding them. I am amazed that Lopez went as high as he did – really hasn’t done anything that merits to go that high.
And Love was good in college because he was able to be the strongest on the court… by quite a bit. That’s not going to be true in the NBA. With the big boys, Love is just going to be another big forward who lacks mobility… but yes, he can pass.

Maybe Gallinari wasn’t the right pick for the Knicks, but he deserves a chance. I think he’ll surprise more than a few people.

5 07 2008
James

Steve,
Yes, the knicks pass on both Bayless or Augustin…well so thus 7 or 9other teams in the draft. You are advocating that since we need a point guard, we should draft for one. well, drafting based on needs is OK on ly if you happened to have a few players of equal talent for you to choose. If not, you always choose the best talent available…in this case, Gallinari. The Knicks point guard need is sooo well publicized and documented that it is not even funny. Think Walsh/Mike did not have that in mind going into the draft??
The fact that they would choose this kid instead of the supposedly “clear choice” of either Gordon or Bayless (an oxymoron by it self) should, in fact, be a good sign. They are not, like the previous Zeke’s regime, there for the crowd’s approval. They did their homework…and decide that the kid is the best talent at that 6th pick. You might have read it somewhere, when asked about not picking a pg, he mentioned that they were not going to “stretch” just so that they can pick a pg. All the due diligence that they have done so far told him that this is the best choice for the franchise.
And the other thing, this kid only work out for 2 or three teams that he was interested in playing for (NY and NJ being his ideal locations). And was said to have a verbal agreement with the Nets fi he were to fall to the 10th.
In all honesty, I would be down with either Gordon and Bayless. However, I would not be as excited about the possibility of witnessing something great.

5 07 2008
James

One more thing, there are many ways to rebuild a team, besides draft. If you look at Boston Celtics…their key players were all acquired through trades. And If you care to remember, LA acquired Shaq via free agency.

Just now, I just learned that the knicks have signed a more than capable pg in Duhon. In my book, the pg issue is moot. I know, Duhon is no Nash…heck he is not even the limping Baron Davis. But, for what we set out to do in the next two years (that is to shed salary and be competitive), he would be more than suffice.

I am excited not because we signed Duhon and drafted the Italian kid. I am excited because…now we clearly have a plan for rebuilding, and most importantly, we have a plan and sticking to it!!!

No more frivolous trades and lateral moves that got us Marbury, Eddie, Franchis, and Zbo…and ended us in this deep hole. We are clawing, climbing, struggling back out…it ain’t going to be pretty. But we are progressing in the right direction. All the knicks need is a little bit of patience from us fans.

5 07 2008
withmalice

Well said James, well said. I too think that the signing of Duhon, whilst not even the best PG available in this off-season’s free agents, is a step in the right direction. And the length of the contract is significant too.

Now, if only the rest of NYK fans can get on board!

5 07 2008
James

Yap, wm. The contract length is the key here. Some might be say the knicks are over paying for him. I actually think that it all depends on how you see the transaction. If you really want the player, and he might have a real possibility to sign with another team (the last I check, Orlando is reportedly offering 10M for 3 yrs), you have to step up and pay slightly more…as long as it does not screws up the bigger plan (to slash salary by 2010/11). And for that, I think Don/Mike has done a great job.

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