Saturday, June 6, 2015

Trade Target: Danilo Gallinari

Danilo Gallinari - F - 6'10, 225
Denver Nuggets - 2 years, $22.4 million remaining
27 years old

Once the centerpiece of the trade that sent Carmelo Anthony from Denver to New York, Danilo Gallinari has been on a bumpy ride the past few seasons thanks to a litany of injuries.  In his four full seasons with the Nuggets, Gallinari has only managed to play more than 60 games just once and missed a full season in 2013-14.  When he hasn't been out with injuries to his knee, shoulder or whatever else, he's been an effective scorer and an overall versatile contributor to the Denver offense.  With adequate size and athleticism for both forward spots, Gallinari would be an interesting fit should the Pistons make a move to acquire the oft-injured Italian scorer.  Coming off a season where he notched a career-high 47 points on 23 shots in a loss to Dallas, Gallinari would be an intriguing upgrade to either forward spot for Detroit.  Would it be worth the future assets to grab Gallinari knowing that he could miss significant time, or should the Pistons steer clear of Gallinari and his apparently fragile body?


Danilo Gallinari
PPG
PER
USG%
TS%
3PAr
3P%
AST%
TRB%
FTr
FT%
DRtg
2013-14
16.2
16.7
21.3%
56.1%
.416
37.3%
11.2%
8.9%
.416
82.2%
107
2014-15
12.4
16.8
21.5%
56.3%
.530
35.5%
9.4%
8.3%
.530
89.5%
109
Career
14.2
15.9
20.0%
57.4%
.472
36.7%
9.2%
8.4%
.472
85.1%
110

It's pretty hard to argue with Gallinari's offensive production when he has been on the floor.  He's an efficient scorer and an adequate passer, and I really like the composition of his scoring game.  Despite taking about half of his shots from beyond the three point line, Gallinari manages an excellent Free Throw Rate.  He may not be an elite outside shooter, but when you consider his high volume of attempts, Gallinari is going to make the defense respect his range.  Considering the Pistons' needs for outside shooting and for a starter at each forward position, wouldn't Gallinari be the ideal piece for the offense that Stan Van Gundy is trying to build?  On top of great outside shooting, Gallinari offers a bit of playmaking and is an okay rebounder, depending on where you play him.  If he's your SF, you can definitely live with his rebounding; if you want him at PF, you may not like the rebounding results.

Gallinari's play-type statistics from the 2014-15 season, while captured in a small sample size, confirm the excellent offensive numbers seen above:

Danilo Gallinari
Possessions
Pts. per Poss.
NBA Rank
Isolation
123
0.97
11/58
PnR Roll-Man
67
1.03
33/99
PnR Ball-Handler
54
1.09
1/184
Post-Up
38
1.16
1/136
Spot-Up
190
1.05
37/79

I'd like to repeat that this was in a small sample size, and that the NBA's website doesn't offer play-type stats for seasons before the most recent one.  Considering his excellent efficiency throughout his career, I'd imagine things would look similar to what you see above in past years.  When compared to players with as many or more possessions in each category, Gallinari was a great post-up option and a surprisingly good piece in pick-and-roll situations.  Considering that the Pistons love to run the pick-and-roll with Andre Drummond, maybe they should be interested in adding Gallinari to add a new wrinkle to the offense.  The chart above suggesting that Gallinari is the number one player in pick-and-roll and post-up situations is misleading, but it's probably not misleading to say that Gallinari is at least above average in those areas.  This is where it would be useful to have more data; unfortunately, I don't have access to that due to the limited range of the NBA's play-type stats.

The play-type stats aren't nearly as kind to Gallinari on the defensive side of the ball, although the sample size issues apply here as well:

Danilo Gallinari
Possessions
PPP Allowed
NBA Rank
Isolation
73
0.74
17/75
PnR Ball-Handler
33
1.15
249/249
Post-Up
61
1.00
107/120
Spot-Up
132
0.84
15/157

It's troubling to see how bad Gallinari was defensively in post-up and ball-handler situations, but again, Gallinari missing over 20 games lends to some issues with the sample size of these numbers.  Assuming these numbers are credible, there are some serious concerns about Gallinari defensively at each forward position.  If he can't guard post-up players, then he's going to struggle against PFs, and if he can't defend the pick-and-roll, opposing teams can make him a target at SF.  Again, this only holds true if he's had the same struggles in previous years.  33 possessions is nowhere close to enough to make that judgment.

The Nuggets are a clear candidate to begin a full-fledged rebuild this summer after an extremely rocky season including dysfunction, uninspired play and a player mutiny that should ring familiarity around these parts.  The Nuggets began the rebuilding process by moving Arron Afflalo and Alonzo Gee to the Blazers at the deadline, along with shifting JaVale McGee to the 76ers.  The roster shuffling is expected to continue this summer, as speculation is rampant about Ty Lawson being traded, and other established veterans such as Gallinari, Wilson Chandler, Randy Foye and Kenneth Faried are expected to be made available for young assets and/or draft picks.  There has been some talk that Denver would like to keep Gallinari for the rebuilding process, but that doesn't really add up in my head.  He's 27 years old and only under contract for another two years.  Any Nuggets rebuild will likely take more than that two years, and will probably last through the duration of Gallinari's prime.  Moving him makes way more sense than not, so I would write off any talk of Gallinari being unavailable as a move to increase his market value.

Assuming that Gallinari is available, and that the Pistons would like to add him to their frontcourt, what would it take for the front office to add him to the fold?  With the Pistons managing roughly $25 million in cap space this summer, the team wouldn't have to move any major salaries in order to accept Gallinari in any prospective deal, depending on when it would occur.  While they certainly could request that the Nuggets take on Brandon Jennings in any deal, it wouldn't be necessary, and could result in the Pistons sending out fewer long-term assets in the trade.  Here's what a straight up, two team deal may look like, with Gallinari ending up on the Pistons:

Pistons receive: Danilo Gallinari, Randy Foye, 2015 2nd round pick via LAC
Nuggets receive: Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Spencer Dinwiddie, Caron Butler, Shawne Williams, 2015 DET 2nd round pick 

If the Nuggets are committed to rebuilding the right way, they'll be interested in adding as many young pieces as they possibly can.  Here, they add two young backcourt players with solid upside, although they do have holes in their games, in KCP and Dinwiddie.  They also swap picks in the 2nd round of this year's draft, moving up 19 spots in the 2nd round.  Williams and Butler are both on non-guaranteed deals, offering the Nuggets the opportunity to clear their deals from their salary cap.  For the Pistons, the price is steep, but it's hard to see them getting a deal done for Gallinari without including KCP.  He's their only legitimate young asset, as Dinwiddie wouldn't be enough on his own to net Gallinari.  Nevertheless, the above deal seems like the Pistons are giving up a little too much.  The 8th pick would almost certainly be too valuable to sacrifice for two years of the oft-injured forward, so that piece is off the table.  Foye is added in to replace KCP and balance things out a little bit.

A three team deal might make a little bit more sense, as the Pistons don't have enough to nab Gallinari without making what seems like an overpay.  Finding a team who can give the Nuggets a young asset or two in return for Foye might allow the Pistons and Nuggets to balance things out a little bit more fairly.  In this scenario we're looking for a team who would have an immediate need to upgrade their depth in the backcourt for a playoff run next season.  The Nets could use another piece at SG behind Bojan Bogdanovic, and have a few young pieces that may entice the Nuggets:

Pistons receive: Danilo Gallinari, Jarrett Jack
Nuggets receive: Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Spencer Dinwiddie, Markel Brown, Cory Jefferson
Nets receive: Randy Foye, Caron Butler, Shawne Williams

The Nuggets get four young players who can help them with their rebuild, either on the court or as trade pieces, the Pistons get a new frontcourt piece and the Nets get some cap relief and replace Jack with a cheaper fit in Foye.  The value still seems a bit off for all three teams, but this is the best I can do for a three team deal where the Pistons end up with Gallinari.  If you have a better suggestion, leave it in the comment section below.  

While Danilo Gallinari is, in theory, what the Pistons are after for their voids at SF and PF, his injury history and potential acquisition cost suggest that he won't be attainable this summer and that he may not be the smartest target anyways.  If Gallinari didn't have the long injury history that he does, I would suggest that he's almost perfect for Detroit's needs.  However, at such an important juncture in the Pistons rebuilding project, it doesn't make sense to give up future assets for a guy who may only play 80-100 games over the last two years of his contract.  Count me out on trading for Gallinari unless the Nuggets are willing to reduce the price.

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