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.