The Dallas Mavericks have been doing work this week to address their greatest need. Though Danilo Gallinari has never played for the Mavericks, there has always been a fascination from afar by Mavericks fans.
It’s hard to deny his size, strength, and shooting combination. Those tools are what make Gallo a hot commodity on this off-season’s open market. Whether or not the Mavericks front office has their sights set on the Italian forward remains to be seen, though the fit in Dallas seems clear.
The 6’10 forward spent last season with the surprising Oklahoma City Thunder, finishing up a three-year $65 million contract. Gallo is entering his 12th season of play in the league, with an up and down history of battling injury. He sat out all of the 2013-14 season following ACL surgery.
Nevertheless the 32 year old Gallinari has been a consistent offensive threat, especially from outside where he’s connected on 38-percent from three in his career. He played a key role last season alongside Chris Paul, averaging 19 points, five rebounds and two assists, while hitting 41-percent from deep — this mark at the highest volume in his career, attempting seven three-pointers per game.
Without a doubt Gallinari’s greatest strength is his outside shot. Over the course of his career, much like other shooting forwards of this era in the league, he has lessened his midrange and increased his looks from the outside. But that volume shift hasn’t hurt his game.
Gallinari’s ability to be effective from four of the five three-point zones really drives home what a deadly shooter he can be, and his strength as a dynamic floor spacer. He’s still savvy
Though he was rarely used as the roll man last season, Gallinari’s effectiveness is intriguing as he averaged 1.48 points per possession (80 possessions). Because of his smooth shooting stroke everywhere above the break it’s curious teams haven’t used him more in this way, unless his mobility is an issue.
Gallinari doesn’t spend much time in the post, and the shot chart above may indicate why, his advanced post-up numbers tell a different story. Last season Gallinari ranked fifth in the league, at 1.04 points per possession, among players that had at least 125 possessions in the post according to NBA.com.
Health will be the constant question mark for Gallinari, though the last two seasons have been more durable. Finding a role in an offense that provides max spacing and doesn’t require the wear and tear of playing in the lane will lengthen the back end of his career. But even still, the fact he hasn’t appeared in over 70 games in a regular season since his year off from the ACL injury is less than ideal.
Defensively, Gallinari is a big body, but otherwise does not provide much. His lack of quickness and health has hampered any quickness he had on defense. The hope would be his size would allow for him to be a presence in the lane, but his career five rebounds per game is lacking.
Fit with the Mavericks
Offensively, there is no question that Gallo would fit seamlessly. As a spacing big you can’t ask for more reliable shooting in the league. It would be intriguing to see if he could plug in to a two-man game with Luka Doncic in Porzingis’ absence, but that would just be bonus.
Questions on the other end of the floor are valid. The forward combination of Doncic and Gallinari would provide a unique argument of who guards who, and whether one of them would get caught chasing someone along the perimeter. The hope is that the Mavericks can provide enough athletic defenders around Doncic that he can take some time off.
Finally if the Mavericks added someone like Gallinari, who slots in directly to the four, questions of who among Josh Richardson, Tim Hardaway Jr. and Dorian Finney-Smith would move to the bench is interesting. Let’s be clear: this is a good challenge to have! But that dynamic is not something the Mavericks and Rick Carlisle have had to address for some time.
Will he be a Maverick?
It does seem like the Mavericks are still up to something, and their desire for someone like Gallo seems obvious. While on paper they have just the Mid-Level Exception to offer, a sign-and-trade remains in play and the kind of move the Mavericks are savvy making.
But the market for Gallinari will be competitive. His desire to be on a contender is clear. The negotiation of his desire for that sort of role and what teams are willing to offer in money and years will be intriguing to watch. Because of those factors it seems like the odds are at best 50%, though it’s realistically less, that Gallinari is in Dallas next season. But if it happens, the Mavericks offense might be an unstoppable force.