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Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Nuggets Extend Gallinari

The Nuggets agreed to a 4-year, 42 million dollar contract extension with Italian forward Danilo Gallinari. Gallinari was due to hit restricted free agency and Denver wanted to keep one of the centerpieces of the Carmelo Anthony deal around. I think it's a bit of an overpay for what he has been considering that's what guys like Gerald Wallace and David West make and I think they are better players. However, it's also around what Hedo Turkoglu and Richard Jefferson make and they've been disasters the past couple of years.

The thing is, this year, Gallinari is playing really well. He's fourth among small forwards in PER, and is only trailing Carmelo Anthony by just 0.8. That's right, this season Gallinari alone is almost justifying the Carmelo trade. Since Wilson Chandler is trapped in China and Ray Felton is now in Portland, that's a big coup for the Nuggets. Gallinari's value comes mostly from his shooting ability. His TS% is 61.2, 3rd among small forwards. Amazingly, he's doing it while shooting a career low from three. Instead his 46 percent from the field and 89.2 percent from the line, where he gets 6 attempts per game, have made him a viable offensive threat. Both are signs he's trying to get to the rim more, which is a good idea with his combination of size and ball handling ability. If the threes start dropping, he'll be even more potent. He remains middle of the pack as far as rebounding and turnovers, but is averaging almost 3 assists per game which is pretty good.

Gallinari's' All-Star level production this year is nice and might seem like it's worth an 8-figure per year contract, but there are some warning signs. Most notably, he's never played near this well. His PER is almost 5 points higher than it has ever been. Gallinari is only 23, so this can be seen as a normal progression for someone who was seen as having a lot of talent. However, it is his fourth year in the league and because of an altered schedule, this might be a year to be wary of fluky performances. The Nuggets will hope this is Gallinari's breakout campaign and that, along with Nene, he can be part of a first-class frontcourt for years to come. No matter what, he's come a long way since getting booed on draft day.

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