#NuggetsRank No. 2: Danilo Gallinari

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Every year around this time ESPN introduces its annual #NBArank series codifying all 500 players in the NBA from least to most valuable. Last year Roundball Mining Company decided to get in on the action and began ranking each of the players on the Denver Nuggets’ final 15-man roster in the same fashion. We’ve polled all seven of our writers, asking them to arrange each player on the Nuggets roster from one to 15 (one being the best, 15 the least valuable), then we added everyone’s scores together to come up with a single, definitive list of the 15 “most valuable” Denver Nuggets. Checking in at number two is Danilo Gallinari, up one spot from last season.

Gallinari is a capable and efficient scorer.  During the 2012 season he took nearly 60% of his two point attempts at the rim, converting at a solid rate of 50.5%.  He also drew 5.4 free thows per 36 minutes, better than all but 20 players in the league.  His three point shooting mark of 37% and free throw shooting mark of 82% were both well above the league average.  None of these numbers are spectacular individually, but as a whole they show Gallinari is effective at scoring in a variety of ways.

Gallinari has also shown the ability to put the team on his back for stretches late in games, hitting important three pointers or drawing free throws to cut into a deficit or extend a lead.  However, he has not made a habit of carrying a heavy scoring load game in and game out; he scored 25 or more points in only 8 games last season, but was in single digits 13 times (not counting the Dallas game where he was injured early) and had a modest usage rate of 21.3%.  He often didn’t touch the ball in a possession where a less efficient player put up a low-percentage shot.  He also hasn’t shown a tendency to create for others, deferring to other playmakers the majority of the time.  It is not clear whether he will become more of a focal piece on offense, or how he will respond if he does.

Kevin Durant reportedly told Italian sports journalist Emiliano Carchia that Gallinari was one of the NBA’s toughest defensive players.  While the comment may have been exaggerated, it contains at least a grain of truth — Gallinari has a rare combination of size, speed, and strength that allows him to effectively guard many of the league’s best wing players.  His defensive fundamentals are good but not great, and he is rarely caught gambling for steals or otherwise out of position.  This also means he rarely gets steals, posting the lowest steal percentage of any Nuggets non-Center last season.

Ultimately, Gallinari’s ability to maximize his worth to the Nuggets comes down to his ability to stay healthy and to expand his game from “good at most things” to “good at most things and great at a few”. At the age of 25, he is still young enough that he may have a breakout year where potential turns into on-court effectiveness.  But he may also spend the season struggling with inconsistency as he recovers from injury and gets back into game shape.  For the Nuggets to be successful in the postseason, Gallinari needs to be closer to the top end of that spectrum than the bottom end.

#NuggetsRank

15. Anthony Randolph

14. Quincy Miller

13. Timofey Mozgov

12. Jordan Hamilton

11. Randy Foye

10. Darrell Arthur

9. J.J. Hickson

8. Andre Miller

7. Evan Fournier

6. Nate Robinson

5. JaVale McGee

4. Kenneth Faried

3. Wilson Chandler

2. Danilo Gallinari

  • Gregory Houston

    After JJ Hickson at #9, I commented about my top 8 which were:

    The rest of the list:
    1. Ty Lawson
    2. Danilo Gallinari
    3. Wilson Chandler
    4. JaVale McGee
    5. Kenneth Faried
    6. Nate Robinson
    7. Evan Fournier
    8. Andre Miller

    With the except of swithing 4/5 – JaVale and Faried, my list is matching Tom’s list. And I would argue that by the end of the year, JaVale should be higher the Kenneth. So, good job Tom!

  • CD Pascual

    Ty Law is our best Nugget. No argument needed :)

  • William Nemirow

    WE NEED IGGY BACK!

    • heykyleinsf

      no we don’t.

      He is the most over-rated asshole in the NBA

      • Paul Griggs

        Yeah, so what if he played defense, played as if he belonged to a team, was the glue that held the US Olympic team together and had by far the highest plus-minus on the Nuggets last year.

        • heykyleinsf

          and turned his ass on us to go straight to our biggest rival.. Oh I miss him so much. He’s an asshole.

          • Paul Griggs

            Again with the missed facts. Our biggest rival is OKC. He never wanted to be in Denver but played hard anyway. He didn’t like the fact the Nuggets wouldn’t play together as a team on D. No wonder Karl was bald.

            • heykyleinsf

              that makes no sense at all to me. He is all about himself. And besides.. if you’re a Nuggets fan.. why do you care about a player on another team?

              • Paul Griggs

                I care that the Nuggets fired a HOF coach that made the best of the talent he had, that they lost their best defender. I wouldn’t have resigned Iggy–he’s not worth what he was being paid. But, I will miss his team concept. I think most of the moves the Nuggets made this off season were ego driven, desperate and flat out wrong. I understand letting Iggy go and Brewer wanted out once Karl left but Robinson is a shorter, worse version of JR, Foye seems to have no redeeming value, Hickson and Arthur seem roster fillers and Koufos for nobody was a brain dead move. I’m intrigued by Shaw and hope he can get a bunch of non-defenders to play defense as a group.

              • heykyleinsf

                whooaaa wait a minute.. You say the Nuggets “let Iggy go”… hang on .. . they offered him more money than the Warriors did. Iggy was nearly begged to stay.. and the Nuggets were so prioritized about keeping Iggy that they did nothing in free agency while they tried to re-sign him. BTW… I like to call him “Iggy” a lot.. he is on record saying he hates that name.

                From the SF Chronicle…

                ” To get here, he turned down a four-year, $52 million deal that Sacramento offered July 2 and then pulled, a five-year, $60 million front-loaded deal that Denver had on the table throughout the process, and a lucrative deal with Dallas that Iguodala almost signed an hour before the Warriors were able to create the necessary cap space to offer him four years and $48 million….”

                Let’s not have fantasies about this. Let’s focus on the truth.

  • heykyleinsf

    Yeah here comes the rooster.. you know he ain’t gonna die!!

  • alex47666

    My favorite player on the nuggets, hope he can make a full recovery cause we aint going far if he isnt here

  • Paul Griggs

    Gallo should be #1. Lawson can push it but nothing else. Lousy D, mediocre FT, can’t run half court, lousy jump shooter. He’s very good at the speed game but Gallo is solid in all aspects of the game.

    • alex47666

      This is just so wrong on so many levels, I do believe gallo is better overall than ty. But when on offense ty is great in all aspects he can drive shoot and do everything that is needed of him. Thats why he avg 30 a game in the postseason

      • Paul Griggs

        Your facts are wrong. Ty averaged 18 points in the playoffs and the guy he supposedly guarded torched him for 30 points a game. He is a great drive to the basket and push it guy but the rest of his game is lacking. He’s an average outside shooter and CAN’T run the half court offense. Overall, a good player but Gallo plays D, rebounds, often guards the other team’s star, Plays like he’s on a team and is a decent 3 point shooter for a guy his size.

      • Paul Griggs

        Iggy lead the team Gallo in plus-minus, followed by Gallo and Koufos, then Lawson, who had the most minutes. The only team defenders on the team had the best stat, followed by the score only Ty. Don’t get me wrong, I like Ty but I recognize his flaws. He’s fun to watch.

  • Paul Griggs

    Lawson and Co. better start playing better…I know it’s pre-season but 67 points by the opposing point guards is a defensive nightmare. How can someone who is so quick on offense be such a defensive liability? And I saw an interview where Iggy said he left because of the moves the Nuggets made.