Two of the Denver Nuggets new additions should give fans a reason for hope in these last 22 games of the season...
How about the Future?
Benvenuti al grande tempo, Gallo! (Welcome to the big time, Gallo!)
My first impression of watching Danilo Gallinari play when he was in New York, was that he was a slightly taller and more athletic version of Hedo Turkoglu. The the way he took the ball down court and drove the lane with quickness reminded me of Turkoglu. This was very encouraging to me because it indicated both hard work and play making ability.
While Gallo is most often compared to Dirk Nowitzki, primarily because of his 6'10" frame. It seems like his willingness to take the ball down court sets him apart from Dirk's post-up/three-point shooting game (also it's because they are both European). Now, if Gallo learns to also post up opposing players (remember, he plays small forward) then his game will be darn near unstoppable. Yesterday George Karl compared Gallo's game to that of Detlef Schrempf ... with all due respect to Karl, Gallo's game has far more explosion to it than Schrempf's ever did. It does, however, make me believe that all this talk of "no superstars" may be a bit misguided. Gallo seems to have the ability to be a superstar. Is that putting the cart before the horse?
What's the point of this rant? Well, being forced into dealing with the New York Knicks (via a single-minded Carmelo Anthony) may have resulted in the "player" the Nuggets need to rebuild going forward. With an assuredly reduced payroll upcoming, it places a premium on affordable players whom you hope blossom into more. Players such as Gallo and his compatriot Wilson Chandler, who in my mind is a perfect number two guy.
Ill-Wil, as he's known, presents an interesting dilemma for the Nuggets going forward. His game shows great potential for someone who is solid on both the offensive and defensive end every night (think Gerald Wallace without the corn rows and mildly less explosion), but he will most likely ask for more money than what his perceived worth is, and going into the new CBA owner's wallets might be harder to open.
That being said, however, we have to deal in the now. What we see before us is a very eager defender (who did a fantastic job on both Nicolus Batum and Paul Pierce) and someone who provided some of the much needed "toughness" in Kenyon Martin's absence against the Trail Blazers (in a losing effort). I think he can bring back that toughness that hasn't been seen since Dahntay Jones was here.
Make no mistake, both Gallo and Ill-Wil are the primary pieces to the Melo trade. While we gained a 7'1" Timofey Mozgov (MOZGOD!) he has yet to crack the lineup, although Karl indicated that Mozgov had great basketball IQ and may be in the lineup coming soon. Kosta Koufos ... well ... who knows at this point?
There may be a point where Koufos and Melvin Ely will strike up a card game on the bench. Maybe Koufos can teach Chris Andersen how to box out? We will see. Raymond Felton is an interesting case of a player who is included in a trade because we lost our starting point guard (sorry Chauncey Billups). It's very clear that the organization wants Ty Lawson to take the reins. But it's also clear Karl continues to enjoy the ridiculous Lawson/Felton crunch-time lineup and may favor Felton in crunch-time (as we saw in Overtime of the Portland game). Felton can be a serviceable backup until we get to the offseason.
Overall, I'm excited to see both Gallo and Ill-Wil for the rest of the season. I'm not going to make an absurd proclamation that this team is fantastic beyond belief, just that I think they will make the playoffs. Yet, there's something infectious with these new players that makes this team appealing even though the future is still quite murky. Let's enjoy this team NOW for what they are and worry about the future later. As we learned from the season prior to the trade deadline, constantly worrying about the future can have an adverse affect on the present. I think I see the playoffs on the horizon.
One last note from me. To Carmelo Anthony. I enjoyed almost every moment of the seven and a half seasons you spent in Denver. You brought the Nuggets back to basketball relevance again and for that fact, Nuggets fans will always hold an admiration for you. Don't confuse this for any attempt to remain a fan of you while you are in New York. You have shown a very selfish and shortsighted attitude since the trade was consummated last week. Not thanking the organization or the city of Denver in your introductory press conference with the Knicks was bush league. Your trade parter CB1 went out of his way to praise the city of Denver and the Nuggets (even if it was half hearted when referring to the Nuggets) and that is how you are supposed to behave when you are traded. I'm not interested in how you don't play defense, or how you need to rebound more ... just thank the fans and the organization. That's all we ask.
Tutti hanno un meraviglioso giorno! (Have a wonderful day everyone!)
Now, in honor of our newest player from Milan, Italy ... My favorite Italian song, done as an instrumental. HA!
Jeff Beck - Nessun Dorma - Emotion & Commotion - 2010 (via leonelciliberto)