Can Gallo get his groove back?

Danilo Gallinari has started off the 2012-13 season in an atrocious slump, shooting just .300 from the field.205 from the arc, and .741 from the charity stripe, far below his career averages of .415, .361 and .849, respectively. He’s been playing less aggressively, driving to the rim and getting to the foul line less often. The silver lining thus far has been his defense, which has been solid, and his rebounding , which is up to 6.8 per 36 minutes from 5.4 last season.

That last stat somewhat convolutes what has been the party line explanation for Gallo’s shooting slump – the ankle sprain he incurred just prior to the start of the season. If he can’t get his shot off right because his ankle is tweaked, then how is it he’s pulling down more boards, which tends to involve a bit of jumping? He also just doesn’t look gimpy out there. He’s running the court just fine, doesn’t seem to have any problems with lateral movement on defense. Sometimes a slump is just a slump, and that’s where the smart money might be in this case.

The dreadful shooting continued through the beginning of last Saturday’s game at Golden State. It wasn’t until the third quarter with 9:25 remaining that Danilo finally sunk his first basket of the game, a 3-pointer from the top of the arc. Until that shot he had gone 0-10, including 0-4 3-pointers.

Things did change after that first made three, however. From that point onward, Gallinari shot 8-12 (.667) from the field and 3-7 (.429) from he arc. He made some huge clutch 3-pointers at critical points in the game, and in overtime started driving to the rim for the first time since… well, who can remember how long ago that was? In the end, the Nuggets victory really came down to Gallo coming alive at the right time. It was the first time this season he seemed to be recovering a semblance of his offensive game, and it was quite a relief for Nuggets fans to see that it hasn’t disappeared altogether.

But was it just a fluke? Can he build on his successful finish last Saturday to climb out of the terrible rut he’s been in and shake off his slump? Only time will tell, but if it’s true that it’s not his ankle, but rather some kind of mental issue like confidence or focus, his performance against the Warriors just might be the spark needed to help him reclaim his mojo.

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Joel is a long time Denver Nuggets (and Broncos) fan from Colorado who's been living in Japan since the mid-90s, and blogging about the Nuggets since 2008. You can contact and follow him on Twitter: @denbutsu.
  • Thomas

    Just don’t have the kind of fascination every one seems to have with Gallo’s game. To me, until he jacks up his FG% to the 48% neighborhood and consistently scores 18PPG, he is not our long-term solution at PF. I’d rather trade him and get valuable pieces in return. Shooter for shooter, I prefer JHam’s potential.

    Watching today’s PHX game (currently in 2nd quarter), it is easy to see that we will die by GK’s preferences (2-PG guard line up, aaargh, nonsensical rotations, small ball).

    Take this game, we were up by 10 to start the game, we lose momentum, GK takes out Faried and he stays out of the game for the next 9 minutes (half of the game so far!). That’s just not smart coaching.

    We will probably be able to beat PHX tonight, but the problem is not going to go away while GK is here. Phil Jackson, anyone? He is pissed at the Lakers and we have many good pieces. If Jackson comes here, for sure a big time player can be convinced to come over and make us very, very good.

    • dynamo.joe

      Well, he’s not a pf, so the fact that he is not a long term solution at pf is somewhat axiomatic.

  • Thomas

    I should correct that, we can’t even beat PHX.

    I just can’t stand to watch GK coached teams, it’s just to hard on the brain. It was very hard to lose this game, we are much, much bigger than the Suns, and much more talented. Yet, somehow, we end up playing the last 10 minutes with Miller running the show, alongside Lawson, and without a center! Down by 6 with little time to go, we still have Miller on the court, and no three point threat JHam on the court.

    I said this before and I repeat it: with Miller playing 25+ minutes a game, we have zero chance of making noise in the playoffs. The only way to stop this nonsense is getting rid of the worst coach in the NBA.

  • Josh

    Watching todays game I thought Galo had a decent game. Once he got rolling he hit 3 or 4 in a row. But he’s been very streaky and seems to take the first half as a warm up.

  • bayesk

    Jerry Sloan.


    karl fire

  • junior

    I would still be open to trading Galinari… someone on the coaching staff has to realize that going 0-10 is killing the team…we need a consistent 3 point shooter someone who can make the shot after lawson drives in and kicks it out just imagine if we had a shooter like jason richardson… can you say CONTENDERS?!