So as the season has progressed, it has helped me see the leaps these players are taking to reach their potential, while Faried is channeling all of the great undersized rebounding forces before him, and Lawson is playing a bit like Tony Parker it still dawns on me how good our players can be. There is still a lot of consistency issues from all of the players which is driving me nuts and one has to wonder if any of the players can bring their A game on most nights. Still there are games from most of our players that just make you shake your head in amazement, and sometimes disappointment.
In this segment, I'll look at our small forwards... Iguodala included since he is basically one anyway, despite playing at the 2 position currently, but he'll guard the teams small forward if the opposing small forward is the teams best offensive threat.
Dreamside- This is the ultimate fantasy, almost every player projected to make it into the first round of the NBA draft has a "Dream potential" tag next to him. Most never live up to it because it takes a strong amount of drive, athleticism and overall growth in skill.
Best case- This is where the realism kicks in and where scouts understand that they have a job to protect to, they can't be lallygagging in the clouds too much. Most players realistic potential tends to come after a year or two that they are in the league. They start to look a lot like other players in the league.
They are then looked at or seen as a "poor version" or "homeless version" of higher quality players of present or past. Still, realistic potential is still a far away distance from where they stand at currently.
Worst case - Now we come to their weakest possible scenario. Players who fall here do not progress much further than when they came out of college and eventually find themselves out of the league or riding the bench. To clarify, a player better than his worst case would have to drop in skill to get here, and a player who is raw of talent stays here.
I don't know where I found this.
Dream case- I know some will hammer it on me because it has been discussed before, but I can't help but see Gallo as a very poor man's version of Dirk Nowitzki, with a mix of Kevin Durant as well, as in a good, but not great player at driving to the rim. Gallo's been really effective from 15-10 feet out as of late working his pivot foot to loose defenders and get high percentage fadeaway shots in a way that Dirk does it, and taking it to the rim to the tune of 8 attempts a game at the charity stripe.
He also can light it up from the 3 point line when he is fully healthy, but is inconsistent in doing this, still he has the range and ability to do so. His finishing at the rim is a bit like Durant in that they both are good at getting to the rim and making something happen with height and length.
When Gallo is playing his best, his stat line looks a lot like these two players but it doesn't happen that often. Still, he is young and has time to work it out.
Still, when he is on his A game, he can look like the Nuggets best player by a mile. He has the height, speed, size and shooting touch to cause mismatches all over the court. The main problem for him is that he can have mental slumps which is a big-no for players who want to be all-stars, he needs to have confidence, bravado if you will.. In order to become the 18-24 ppg all-star that many fans see him as possibly becoming. His full potential is something similar to Dirk, with much better defense and a bigger threat in the transition game.
Best case- Detlef Schrempf. Detlef was very good and well rounded as a player... A forward who could pass, rebound and shoot the ball. Both Gallinari and Detlef both make intelligent passes, and have high basketball IQs. Just the way he plays, shoots the ball and handles himself on the court. Detlef put up numbers in the area of 18 ppg and 8 rpg during his prime years.
I think Danilo has the potential to put up those numbers as well, but he needs touches on the ball to do it. Again, consistency is the issue for Gallinari if he wants to get onto that level but everyone knows he is capable of doing it. George Karl was really on to something with this comparison. I'd say right now Gallinari is where Hedo Turkoglu was in his prime years with added athletic ability, but not quite where Schrempf was.
Both players have very similar games, although Gallinari is more athletically gifted and could turn into a better, more improved version of Detlef. Remember, Detlef didn't get into the NBA until he was 22 in the 1985-86 season and it took him seven seasons to get to the production that you see Gallinari currently having, statistically speaking, who is 24 at the moment.
Worst case- It's hard to see Gallinari becoming a terrible player just by what he brings as a player, if he fails at being a three point shooter due to his increased bulk then at the least he can be strong at penetrating but I can very well say his worst case is Mike Dunleavy Jr. who is an okay player but nothing special. I can sort of see Gallinari being a much more athletic version of Dunleavy right now offensively.
Although I believe the odds of him getting this low in terms of talent are very low and would only be from the mental lapses that Gallinari sometimes displays. Dunleavy is still a fine player, but Gallinari should have higher aspirations
Random fact of the day -
Well hidden by his jersey, Gallinari has a massive Armani logo tattooed on his ribs, borne of a connection deeper than his Italian nationality: "Armani Jeans is one of my sponsors—this tattoo is the Armani Jeans Milano team’s logo. When I go in a store, I take all the clothes I want. Mr. Armani and I are close. He came to town for Christmas, and we went to dinner with my parents."
Let us rate how Gallinari is in his overall game.
Shooting touch- 8
Free Throw Shooting/drawing fouls- 9
Isolation offense- 7.5
Three Point shooting- 8
One-on-One defense- 8.5
Post defense- 7.5
Shot disruption- 9
Buy your "Danilolicious Gallinari Nuggets T-Shirt today! For all the ladies and men who can get enough over how dreamy Gallinari is, hubba hubba.
Hipster. You stole that undershirt from Art Garfunkels 70's closet!
Dreamside- A poor man's Lebron James, or as I like to refer to as, Scottie Pippen. Iguodala can do it all when he is on fire, and while he is in his prime and it is pretty doubtful at this point if he will improve any further if there is indeed any production left, Iguodala still is in his prime and is right about on top of his hill in terms of his athletic prime. Still if he can learn to adapt more and more into George Karl's offensive and fast paced system, his production can increase significantly, in terms of stats. Iguodala is a threat to get a triple double every night, which can only be said for a slew of players around the league on a night to night basis.
Upside- Sort of hard to predict, considering his age and that it would appear he has reached his realistic upside when he came out of the draft. He was never considered to be a player similar to Lebron James in terms of production.. Would I say he has fulfilled his draft potentials to this point? Yes and no, and I can attest that to the fact that I can see in Iguodala what many 76ers fans saw as well in Philadelphia. He has so much athleticism that one can't help but feel a little disappointed that he can't become a number one option on offense, with all his incredible dunks, stalwart defense and a good court vision.
I would say he could be a revived and different player under George Karl's system if he learns to adapt to it with time, which could be exciting to see unfold, I won't hold my breath and hope he can become the 20 ppg, 7 rpg, 5 apg player that Pippen was, but it is possible.
Downside- A homeless mans version of Lebron. He does have nights where he has consistent numbers throughout the board, but in single digits and with George Karl playing him more than any other Nugget, it sometimes leaves the impression that he is invisible on the court.
Ye have been blessed Tiago, Ye blessed.
Dreamside- I can't help but be amazed as the shooting touch of Hamilton. I think that the dream side for this guy would have to be a hybrid mixture of Ray Allen/Rashard Lewis. Hamilton is sort of a tweener and his game reminds me of Ray Allen, he is constantly looking for good high percentage spot up three pointers on offense. He has enough height and bulk to mix it up with the big guys down low, as he has came up with a surprising amount of rebounds this year. It would be an amazing payoff if he became similar to the Ray Allen/Rashard Lewis of the Seattle Sonics period.
Although I think it is more realistic to see him as a poor mans version of either, his style of play is similar to their's, and he has the shooting touch to shoot over 40% from the three point line every season. If he continues to develop as an athlete, he could also develop nice cutting and penetration similar to Allen in his Sonics days, but I wouldn't get my hopes up for that.
Upside- Hamilton is realistically a second-tier project and so I think a good second-tier comparison for him would be something similar to Stephen Jackson. The key for Hamilton is that he can't be afraid to make contact with defender on offense and get to the rim on occasion to mix up his perimeter shooting. Like Jackson, both players can shoot you out or into a game.
I don't see Hamilton as a player similar to J.R Smith because Smiths athleticism was way better as a younger player, while Hamilton hasn't really been known to slash to the rim or dunk with authority. A younger Stephen Jackson is a good player for Jordan to aspire to.
Downside- One of the many lower-drafted guards who are indistinguishable from one another and never find their niche in the NBA and go off to play in Europe or China after 5 or 6 years.
Hamiltons potential can also be put into three words- three point specialist.
And now ladies and gentlemen...
Stay tuned for part 4, coming sometime near the all-star break.