Denver Nuggets: Danilo Gallinari Extension Crucial for Team's Future

Rich Kurtzman@@RichKurtzman Senior Analyst IJanuary 16, 2012

DENVER, CO - JANUARY 09:  Danilo Gallinari #8 of the Denver Nuggets takes a free throw against the New Orleans Hornets at the Pepsi Center on January 9, 2012 in Denver, Colorado. The Hornets defeated the Nuggets 94-81. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

There's a special player in the NBA, have you heard of him?

He's tall and lanky, yet able to shoot the ball from behind the arc. His long arms create a smooth shot as he sinks threes silkily.

And even though he's nearly 7' tall, his athleticism allows him to take the ball to the hole, score and draw fouls.

No, the player isn't Dirk Nowitzki, but his game is almost as diverse and versatile.

Denver's Danilo Gallinari may not be Nowitzki, but he is certainly a special player in the making.

In only his fourth year as a professional, Gallinari's NBA game is growing and he has the potential to be a star. Gallo's stroke is sweet, and he's a career 37.2 percent three-point shooter. Yes, he started the season 3-of-37 from behind the arc, but Gallinari's got his legs back and he's shot 12-of-23 (52.2 percent) in the last five games.

When he's on, Gallo can carry the team or bring it back with a quickness.

But beyond sweet shooting, the Italian Stallion runs the floor like a thoroughbred, galloping past defenders and finishing furiously. Gallinari's aggressive on the offensive end, driving to the hole with a reckless abandon that often results in foul calls and free throws. And he's reliable, hitting 86.7 percent of his shots from the charity stripe this season.

At 17 points per game, Gallinari is enjoying the best scoring of his young career and leading the Nuggets at the same time. The best part though, is he only looks to improve as a scorer.

Plus, he's an unselfish player, setting his teammates up with easy lay-ups on run-outs, and his career-high 2.8 assists per are an homage to his team-fist attitude.

On defense, Gallinari's motor is non-stop and his effort results in steals (1.9 per) and blocks (.6 per). Gallinari doesn't take his physical stature for granted, his length lets him poke away passes affect opponents' shots superbly.

And Gallinari's a good rebounder, at 4.9 per, though he could work on positioning himself to grab more boards with his tremendous size.

Overall, Gallinari is a good player with the potential to one day be great, possibly the Nuggets' star some believe they so desperately need.

He's a multifaceted young man, with the rare abilities to score from a set-shot, off the dribble or in transition and he understands the importance of giving his all on both ends of the court, which is a promise of his potential greatness.

Yes, Gallinari's re-signing is crucial because he could be the star they need. But it's also important because Gallo's not just a scorer—with the potential to be incredibly potent—he plays an all-around game.

And on top of all this amazing abilities, Gallinari's got a great attitude, and he can regularly be seen smiling and joking with Al Harrington and others on the bench.

Gallinari's a good guy and a good basketball player, he's young and should grow even more on the court.

According to Chris Tomasson, Gallinari does want to re-sign with the Nuggets, though his agent says the tall small forward wants at least the money Nene was paid this offseason of $67 million over five years.

Whether or not he's worth that will have to be decided upon by Denver's front office, but they know they've got to bring Danilo Gallinari back at all costs.


Rich Kurtzman is a freelance journalist actively seeking a career in journalism. Along with being your Denver Nuggets featured columnist, Rich is a Denver Broncos and CSU Rams Examiner reporter and also writes for Blake Street Bulletin, Stadium Journey and Mile High Hoops.

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