Danilo Gallinari, season at the end of the line: how was this year in the NBA?

With the elimination of the Milwaukee Bucks Last night, it officially ended the NBA season of Danilo Gallinari. Let’s start by saying that it certainly did not go positively. Last summer the Rooster thought he would start the season with a contender, the Boston Celtics, only to find himself traded to the Washington Wizards, a team that eventually won only 15 games.

His debut with Washington boded well: 16 points on Oct. 25 precisely against those Pacers who months later would end his season. From the very next two weeks, however, it could be guessed that the Rooster’s was going to be an up-and-down year, to say the least, as well as the minutes: from 17′ in the first game to 7′ in the second and even 3′ on Nov. 6 against Philadelphia. Two days later another positive peak: 18 points against Charlotte in a rare Wizards win., then 9 against the same Hornets, 12 against Brooklyn and 10 against Toronto. Minutemanage that finally seemed to pick up consistency, except to be nearly wiped out between late December and January.

Since Dec. 27 Gallinari has not been on the court, eventually being traded to the Detroit Pistons in mid-January a few days before the other Azzurri, Simone Fontecchio, also arrived. Not a step forward for the Rooster, who found himself on the only team that had done worse so far than Washington. Even in Detroit, however, Gallinari was used hiccupily by Monty Williams: DNP in the first game, then 2 games on the bench including one with 16′ on the court, finally 3 more DNPs. The Pistons experience lasted less than a month: at the trade deadline came the buyout that allowed the Blue to return as a free agent..

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At that point there were those who wondered if he would return to Europe, since in the NBA no one seemed willing to give him space, at least with continuity. Instead, Danilo Gallinari decided to sign with a contender, in pursuit of that title he still lacks. The Bucks, in the throes of a revolution that a few weeks earlier had seen Adrian Griffin fired and replaced by Doc Rivers. Gallinari had already played for Rivers at the Clippers, a factor that may have convinced him to espouse the Milwaukee cause that has now entered a downward spiral, however. The Rooster played from the start, however, going only 3 times in double figures of minutes in his first month at the Bucks. Then he went back to playing hiccups, missing 9 of the last 16 regular season games by technical choice.

Finally, the Playoffs, which were a miniature photocopy of Danilo Gallinari’s season. Zero minutes in the first three games, then also due to the absences of Giannis Antetokounmpo and Damian Lillard (plus Bobby Portis ejected in Game-4), the Blue was again thrown on the court. Despite the fact that up to that point he had been the only one on the roster not to see the court, even in the garbage time Of the first two games. In Game-4 he stayed on the court 13′, responding with 6 points. In Game-5, on the other hand, Gallinari played probably his best game in this year’s Playoffs: 4 points and 6 rebounds, but most importantly a +15 +/- in 20′ on the floor. The Bucks also thanks to him extended the series, before falling disastrously last night in Game-6. And with them fell Gallinari as well: only 3′ on the court in the first half with a -10 +/- which led Rivers to bench him for the rest of the game. Also mocked by a fan for the Mohican haircut he sported during the postseason. An explicit request by some teammates, as stated by the player himself.

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The Rooster’s season ended with. 49 games played with 3 different jerseys, paradoxically without ever missing matches due to injuries but only due to technical choices or trades. Blue has scored 5.7 points on average, his most miserable haul since he has been in the NBA, capturing 2.2 rebounds per game. So in light of all this, it is fair to wonder if the one against Indiana last night was not also the last NBA game of the career of Gallinari, the 8th pick in the 2008 Draft and the star of a long career overseas. There has been talk of his return to Olimpia Milano for years now; who knows, maybe this could be the right summer. Without forgetting, however, that first there is a Pre-Olympic to play with the national team.

Francesco Manzi
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