A couple weeks ago I was in the mood for some Italian food. The part of Denver I live in has some great family run restaurants, but none of them happen to be of the Italian variety. Thus my ridiculously long search was under way for a good Italian restaurant. Long story short, I kept finding garbage like Olive Garden, Carino's, and even a Fazoli's (nothing like Italian fast food). Honestly, I was disappointed and I ended up getting a salad at Wendy's.
I have been to some great Italian restaurants in Denver (Rico's in Englewood is quite good), but by-and-large the Italian food quality in Denver is very much lacking. Has this Italian food burnout in the greater Denver area contributed to the souring of Danilo Gallinari in Stiffs' minds since February of 2012? Can the lack of great pasta and bolognese sauce be haunting Gallo as much as Chandlers Parsons' foot?
We sent local Denver Stiffs Italian food correspondent "Gino DePalma" out, to find an answer to the question: Is Poor Italian food in Denver the cause of local fan dissatisfaction with Gallo?
DePalma came back with one answer (whilst cleaning off the marinara from his shirt), "No, that has nothing to do with it and your reasoning sucks ... you call yourself a column-" Unfortunately that is all that Mr. DePalma could tell me before he was suddenly silenced (what?). He makes a very salient point though; that it is very specious reasoning on my part to connect the two.
It's a lot like some of the recent reasoning for trading Gallo that I've been seeing around the internet and in the Denver Stiffs comment sections. One reason doesn't necessarily have anything to do if Gallo stays or goes. Truth be told, we don't know what Nuggets' Vice President of Basketball Operations Masai Ujiri going to do with this roster. He has made no comments about Gallo's job being in jeopardy (in fact, everyone Masai has traded have been players that were on the roster when Gallo got here) and while we all understand that Gallo needs to improve his shooting and stay healthy this year; we also have to acknowledge that Gallo's absence from the lineup last year hurt this Nuggets team. Gallo does all the "little" things that largely go unnoticed (floor spacing, shot creation, court vision).
If you are like me, then proper blame for Gallinari's up-and-down season was Houston Rockets rookie Chandler Parsons or more specifically, Parsons' foot. On that fateful night in February 2012, Gallo was clearly the Nuggets front runner for the All Star Game. He was averaging around 17 points per game and, actually, was on his way to a career-best season. Everything changed after that night against the Rockets. So, if you'd like to join me in a healthy screaming at Parsons' foot ... that would be wonderful. Cathartic even.
After Gallinari stepped on that foot and severely sprained his ankle, it was over for him, essentially for the rest of the season. Yes, he had flashes of pre-injury Gallo - the highlights versus the Boston Celtics (behind the back pass) and Atlanta Hawks (fade away three) prove that point, but it was a struggle for him. When he had the fluke thumb injury against the backboard that was pretty much the final nail in the coffin. Gallo's below average playoff performance (which wasn't terrible until Game 7 versus Ron Artest) bothered fans, but really bothered the player.
As I've said before, I'm on board with trading Gallo if it's a clear upgrade. I think there is a "square peg, round hole" issue with people's perception of Gallinari that can explain some things. Gallo is not like Carmelo Anthony. As much as people complain about Melo, the player that helped restore this franchise to respectability, they still want someone who is like him - a tremendous scorer. That is not Danilo Gallinari. Gallo, at times, looks as if he's too smart for his own good. Thinking of a thousand scenarios at once while trying to do everything. Gallo isn't single minded, Melo was.
With that being said, our Italian food correspondent managed to lob an interesting idea at me, before telling me I had ridiculous ideas. One that's been batted around here on Denver Stiffs before, but not taken too seriously. It centers around just simply dropping the "Gallo is a small forward" moniker and going with a "combo small forward/power forward who can run the point". It's a long moniker, but you get my ... err ... Gino's point. Let's change our expectations of our favorite Italian basketball player slash sports apparel model. Let's take him out of the "scoring three" pigeon hole and start embracing something else. Whatever that will be.
If he get's traded you won't hear any complaining coming from my end. Look at it this way, the nature of Danilo Gallinari's slot on the team indicates that if he is traded ... it may be that home-run deal that people are pining for. Otherwise, I'm looking forward to seeing what he can do with his new bulked up frame.
Ducklips and all.
Twitter: @jmorton78 https://twitter.com/#!/jmorton78