Mid-Season Grade: A+
Reader Grade: (A 53% of votes)
One of the major centerpieces of the Paul George trade last summer has paid major dividends for the Oklahoma City Thunder. Forward Danilo Gallinari has proven his worth to this Thunder team on both sides of the ball.
Gallinari is the complimentary floor-spacer the Thunder wish they had when Paul George and Russell Westbrook were on the team. Before the season came to a halt, Gallinari was posting 19.2 points per game on an impressive .611% true shooting percentage.
.That efficiency stems from his great abilities in the post and outside the arc. Gallinari is lethal from downtown (40.9% three point FG percentage this season on a career-high 7.3 attemps per game), and his elite interior game blends nicely with his ability to shoot. For a 6’10 forward, he’s lean at 225 lbs; instead of using strength in the paint, he utilizes his elusiveness and length to either go around defenders or draw a foul. Oh and when he does draw a foul? Chances are good that both free throws are going in. Gallinari is a career 87% free throw shooter and is at 89% from the stripe this season.
While his offensive game steals the show– and rightfully so– Gallinari has always been an underrated defender throughout his career. Sure, while he isn’t an emphatic shotblocker by any means, the way he utilizes his length in the post allows him to help an already solid Thunder defense.
Gallinari’s basketball IQ shines in his defensive game, often in clutch situations. Many times this season, an opposing player’s drive into the paint or in transition was met with Gallo stepping up and drawing a charge. In fact, Gallinari ranks 36th in the NBA for charges drawn.
Daily Thunder Grade: A
Gallinari is one of the main reasons why this Thunder team works. He’d do fine in virtually any lineup in the NBA, but playing on a hardworking team that passes the ball well, hustles on defense and sets him up for high percentage shots is why he’s had close to a career year. He’s long been one of the most overlooked players in the league, but this season he’s making sure people know his name.